Dolores “Dee” Saunders (née Thompson) was born to Chester Thompson and Annie Beatrice Dupree Bryant on July 25, 1930, in Gary, Indiana. She was raised in Farmville, North Carolina, and graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Dee moved to New York City after the birth of her only child, Hildred “Peaches” Cita, born to Dee and James E. Cooke on January 22, 1952. Dee first resided in the Bronx before moving to her Harlem apartment where she lived for over fifty years, surrounded by a community of friends and neighbors. This community was her bedrock.
While in New York City, Dee dedicated over 35 years of service to the Department of Social Services where she worked as a social worker. Dee was a woman of faith and a longstanding member of Southern Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
Reflecting on Dee’s life, we see a woman who touched the lives of so many with her loving and vibrant spirit. Those who knew Dee knew her ability to find pleasure in the smallest moments and joy in even her darkest hours. She often reminded those around her of the profound blessing it is to live each day.
She leaves to celebrate her life and cherish her memory her granddaughter, Marie Renée Cita, her grandson-in-law, Ben Silverman, and a host of loyal friends and family, including her Esplanade Gardens Coop family and her fellow members of Southern Baptist Church. She will be dearly missed, but we are all the better to have loved her.