Helen Marie Saunders of Schertz, Texas passed away at age 98. Helen was born in Garnett, KS to David and Julia Brecheisen, the second of 5 children. She attended school in Welda, KS graduating early and entering college, where she received a teaching certificate at age 18. She taught elementary school for a brief time before joining the civil service corps and being sent to post-WW2 Germany, where she worked as a secretary for the unit responsible for rebuilding the Autobahn. In Germany, she met Robert Saunders, who was in the Army occupational force. They married in Germany and had two children, Robert Jr. and James Michael, before returning to the U.S. By this time, Robert was a member of the newly formed Air Force and they were assigned to Craig AFB in Selma, Alabama, where their third son Gregory was born. From Selma they were transferred to USAF bases in various locations, including Greenville, MS, Prestwick, Scotland, Topeka, KS (Forbes AFB), Omaha, NE (Offutt AFB), and finally San Antonio, TX (Randolph AFB) in 1965. She continued to work in civil service at those locations. Robert retired in Texas as did Helen, and they both became involved in real estate. Helen became an agent and worked at several agencies before forming Saunders Realty, where Robert was her Broker. Her mother was from Czechoslovakia, and she made sure to stay in touch with cousins there, via correspondence and several personal visits. She also maintained relationships with acquaintances she knew from her time in Germany, including the woman who made her wedding dress! She was an avid antique collector, and even had a side gig in Scotland shipping antiques from there to her mother to sell in the U.S. She learned math from flash cards and to the end she could compute math problems in her head. She took up painting as a hobby and was quite adept at painting Texas landscapes. Robert was always fascinated with cars, especially Chrysler Corporation cars. In 1965, Helen wrote to Chrysler to enter her chance to test drive a futuristic Turbine car and got selected. The design and engine were way ahead of their time, and they enjoyed showing the car off. Including the lifelong friends from her days in real estate, she also enjoyed the many friendships of her Beta Sigma Phi Sorority sisters. She was an active member of the Universal City Methodist Church and sang in the choir for many years. She loved being with her siblings for annual family reunions and was a rabid Spurs fan. After 68 years of marriage, Robert died in 2014. Eventually her health began to deteriorate, but she continued to live in her home with her son Greg as her primary caregiver. He arranged in-home nursing care when he was working out of town. In addition to Robert, she was also preceded in death by her sister Ruth and brother Karl. She leaves behind her 3 sons: Bob Jr (Cynthia), Mike (Rosie), and Greg; 5 grandchildren: Amy, Tory, Brooke, Christian and Sonya; 9 great grandchildren: Carly, Rory, Julia, Robbie, Sawyer, Caleb, Miles, Jackson and Stella; brother David and sister Paula. She represented a life well lived. The family would like to express their appreciation to all the in-home nursing staff, the staff at Methodist Hospital and the staff at Vitas Hospice Facility.
Helen’s ashes will be interred at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery near her husband.
A memorial will be held at the Universal City United Methodist Church on Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church. You are invited to sign the electronic guestbook at www.schertzfuneralhome.com.