Antigua bids farewell to inspirational woman

Elizabeth Saunders, Managing Director of the Straffie’s Funeral Home in happier times (Photo courtesy Naadia Saunders)
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By Theresa Goodwin

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“A kind woman, who loved the Lord tremendously,” are the simple words that Naadia Saunders has chosen to describe her mother, Elizabeth Saunders, who passed away at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre on Saturday following heart-related complications.

The younger Saunders is the only child of the deceased Managing Director of Straffie’s Funeral Home, one of two funeral homes in Antigua and Barbuda.

In a brief interview with our newsroom, the grieving daughter said her 68-year-old mother was also dedicated to showering everyone with whom she came in contact with love and appreciation, and she would unfailingly give of her time to ensure that everyone around her was happy and doing well.  

Naadia, also referred to as “Likkle Straffie,” said that her mother diligently served Antigua and Barbuda for over 30 years, leading a company that was originally founded by her father, the late Basil “Strafford” Saunders otherwise known as ‘Straffie’ in 1945.

Her grandfather, she said, built a legacy around the motto “Dedicated to those we serve,” and Elizabeth spent her life ensuring that the motto endured.

By all indications, that legacy will be continued by Naadia and the rest of the Saunders family.

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents have expressed condolences to the famil, even as they reflect on Elizabeth’s life.

Among those paying tribute was Agriculture Minister, Samantha Marshall, who stated that Saunders was an inspirational woman, the first female to own a funeral home. The Minister explained that when many in society wanted to dictate what jobs women should occupy, Saunders did the opposite, and should be commended for her service to Antigua and Barbuda.

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