Nov. 24, 1954 - July 7, 2015
On July 7th, 2015, Frances Yvonne (Richardson) Saunders, “Vonnie” age 60, of Carson City, NV, was surrounded by her family in her home, as she moved from this life onto her next great adventure. Vonnie was born on November 24th, 1954, in Oroville, CA. She later moved and spent several very happy years in Brownsville, OR, on the family cattle ranch. Vonnie graduated High School in Carson City, NV. In 1972, and was the first ever woman recipient of Athlete of the year for Carson High School. Vonnie was invited to the U.S. Olympic Trials where she finished 6th in the nation in the hurdles her senior year. Vonnie received her Bachelor’s degree in Education, and a Master’s degree in Special Education was a 20 year Special Education teacher in both Lyon and Douglas Counties. Her dedication to her students changed more lives than we can mention. She was named “Teacher of the Year” at Silver Stage Middle School in 2001, and was called to address the legislature on Special Education issues. Vonnie had a great love of life, and she often said that her motto was “Just Do It”. She had many talents, loved traveling and was a true adventurer. Vonnie was skilled at many hobbies including: gold mining, biking, woodworking, gardening, camping, searching for precious stones, and motorcycling. Vonnie traveled throughout Europe, had a great love of Italy, explored Alaska and Hawaii, and truly loved camping in the mountains of the U.S.Vonnie lived a life of purpose and was extremely dedicated to her family. She helped raise, and took great joy in her many nieces and nephews. Her family and friends knew her as the “rock” that they could always lean on. Vonnie was a true warrior who spent 25 years of her life battling cancer. She donated her body to the University of Nevada-Reno for cancer research. Even in death, she fights on for the cure. Vonnie has
encouraged and believed in us, helped us find our way, and left us with a true example of strength and spirit. We will never have another like her, so make her proud, stay close to your family, fight your best fight and live your very best life. Vonnie is survived by her parents, Billie Jean Tillotson of Quincy, CA. and William O’Kelley (Doris), of Oroville, CA.; her life partner, Mary Kay Kaluza, Carson City, NV.; sister, Jeanette Wood (Ernie) of Carson City; brother, Mark Richardson (Theresa) of Eugene, OR.; sister, Rebecca Wood of Richfield, ID. She is also survived by her very precious 22 nieces/nephews and 38 great nieces/nephews. She was preceded in death by her dad, James Allen Richardson. A Celebration of Life is scheduled for August 2nd at the Wally’s Hot Springs gazebo in Genoa, NV. A short service will be held at 11 am, with an open house life celebration until 3pm. Casual attire in keeping with the spirit of Vonnie. All are invited to attend and celebrate Vonnie’s wonderful life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center/Merriner Cottages, in the name of Frances Yvonne Saunders, 1555 Medical Parkway, Carson City, NV, 89703. Donation envelopes and more information will be available at the Life Celebration. Vonnie’s family would like to send a very special thank you to her medical team, who took such great care of her throughout the years.