Pierre Paul Saunier
Pierre Paul Saunier
  • June 19, 1919 - February 8, 2017
  • Charlottesville, Virginia

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Paul Saunier, Jr., retired University administrator, writer, and conservationist died on February 8, 2017 at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge.

Mr. Saunier was born Pierre Paul Saunier Jr., on June 19, 1919 in Petersburg, VA. He is survived by his sister Lois (Mrs. Robert Hornsby) of Williamsburg VA, his five children, Julia Saunier Smith of Oakton, VA; Edward Michel Saunier of Northfield MN; Hayden Saunier Brooks of Bedminster, PA; David Morris Saunier of Earlysville VA; and Paul Gaither Saunier of Forest, VA; their spouses; and by eleven grandchildren. His wife, Jane Hayden Morris Saunier, died in 2004.

He was educated in the public and private schools of Henrico County, VA, and the University of Richmond and served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, retiring as a Lieutenant USNR.

Mr. Saunier was a journalist from 1939 to 1948, primarily with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, then a public relations consultant from 1948 to 1951; assistant to a U.S. Congressman in Washington from 1951 to 1960; and assistant to the president of the University of Virginia from 1960 to 1967. He served in several positions at the University, with his last six years as administrator of programs to eliminate discrimination by color and sex, until his retirement in 1978. He was instrumental in recruiting African American students to the University of Virginia and in the desegregation of businesses on “the Corner” that serve the student and Charlottesville communities.

After retirement, he published many newspaper and magazine articles on natural history, humor, environmental conservation, politics and travel. He was known in Virginia for many years as a speaker, photographer, writer and guide on fall hawk migrations throughout the state.

In local community service, Mr. Saunier served as vice-chair of the Charlottesville Albemarle Economic Development Commission, vice-chair of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport Commission, member of the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and member of the Charlottesville Democratic Committee. In 2000 he and his wife moved from Charlottesville to Albemarle County to live at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge, where he served as chair of its Residents Association from 2002 to 2004.

In conservation, Mr. Saunier was the founding president of the Ivy Creek Foundation, which helped the city, county and Nature Conservancy establish and enlarge the Ivy Creek Natural Area in Albemarle County, and he served as a trustee of the Virginia Nature Conservancy, as a director and committee chairman of the Piedmont Environmental Council; and as a committee chairman of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. He received a Garden Club of Virginia Award for meritorious service in conservation and a Citizens Wildlife Conservation Award from the Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

The family would like to thank the entire staff and nursing professionals at Westminster Canterbury, particularly the 3rd floor Health Care Unit and also the Hospice of the Piedmont. A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 1:00 PM. Memorial donations can be made to the Ivy Creek Foundation, P.O. Box 956, Charlottesville, VA 22902.