Some things in life are impossible for mankind to fully understand. No matter how long God has entrusted our loved ones here on earth, their sudden departure is hard to understand. We must accept God's will and abide by his holy words. The bible tells us that to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. God Almighty called his dear servant, Pastor Maude Gordon Hopkins Saunders home to rest on Saturday, April 7, 2018, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina. The family has entrusted Martin's Funeral Home to assist them in preparing for Pastor Saunders' Celebration of Life. They solicit your prayers today, tomorrow, and in the months ahead as they adjust to the absence of Pastor Maude Saunders. Visitation will be held, Friday, April 13, 2018, Mt. Moriah Worship Center, 13442 Savannah Highway South, Furman, SC. Funeral service will be held, Saturday, April 14, 2018, Open Arms Fellowship Center, 402 Hoover Street, Hampton, SC 29924. The family will receive visitors at the home of Pastor Saunders, 776 Martin Luther King Blvd, Estill, SC.
Elder Maude Lucille Gordon Saunders was born to the late Deacon Nathaniel and the late Mother Sudie Smith Gordon on January 24, 1949 in Nixville, South Carolina. Being born and raised in a Christian home, at a young age she accepted Christ as her personal savior and became a member of St. John Holy Church. She received her secondary education in the Estill public school system of Hampton County, and was the first African American to integrate and graduate from Estill High School. She later received an associate’s degree in accounting from Savannah Technical College, Savannah, GA.
In July of 1966, she married Donald Hopkins and to this union they were blessed with three children; Derick, Audrey, and Consuelo. After the death of her husband in 1976, she was left to raise three young children on her own. In March 1990, she married Rufus Saunders; they shared ten years of a loving marriage before the Lord called him home in July 2000.
Continuing to grow stronger in her walk with Christ; adhering to the voice of Lord, Elder Saunders was called into the ministry and became an ordained minister in 1989. In 1997 after many years under the leadership of many great women and men of God, Elder Saunders was appointed pastor of Mt. Mariah Worship Center, Furman, SC. God gave her a heart for young people and her Thursday night children’s bible study was known throughout Estill and the surrounding towns. Her motto is, “If I can save one child, then my work is not in vain”. Most days you could find her at either Gordon Logging, church, or at the fishing pond with her constant companion Cosmo.
Elder Maude Saunders is preceded in death; by her brothers, Nathaniel, Matthew, & Perry Lee Gordon, David Mikell; her sister, Barbara Ann Blake; and her beloved parents, Walter Nathaniel and Sudie Smith Gordon.
She leaves to cherish her loving memories and carry on the family legacy; her children, Derick Hopkins, Dallas, TX, Audrey (Wodwill) Williams, Estill, SC, and Consuelo A. Hopkins, Ellenwood, GA; her loving doggie companion, Cosmos; grandchildren, Jabril Hopkins and Delia Hopkins both of Dallas, TX, Sultan Muhammad,Washington, DC, Tariq Muhammad, Boston, MA, Sharmyra Scott, Estill, SC, Deterrius Hamilton, Statesboro, GA, Marley Hopkins, Manilla, Phillipines, Micah Hopkins, Dallas, TX, Tamara Williams, Kamar Williams, Samoya Williams, Romero Williams, Jaquel Williams all of BWI West Indies, Lakshmi Williams, Estill, SC and Diamond Boykins, Virginia Beach, VA; one grand dog, Sascha Barack Hopkins; four brothers, Johnnie (Thomasina) Gordon, Eloan (Louise) Gordon, Orin (Justine) Gordon, and Randolph (Gloria) Gordon all of Estill, SC; five aunts, Willene Chisolm, Summerville, SC, Annie Jane Cylear, Hampton, SC, Alice (Joe) Kelly, Plainfield, NJ, Pauline (Lacey) Brunson, Plainfield, NJ, and Lenora (James) Jacobs, Bennetteville, SC. three uncles, James (Nancy) Smith, North Charleston, SC, Herbert Gordon, Newark, NJ, and Roosevelt (Diane) Gordon, Dumont, NJ; three brothers- in - laws, Perry (Alease) Hopkins, Estill, SC, Nathaniel (Juanita) Johnson, Garden City, GA, and Steven Patterson, Charlotte, NC; five sisters- in –laws, Lillie Mae Gordon and Beulah Mikell both of Estill, SC, Alice Hopkins, Baltimore, MD, Brenda Patterson and Lisa Williams, both of Charlotte, NC; eight godchildren, Dr. Demetria Gordon, Shane Brantley, Natasha Duncan-Jones, CPO Chymon Nelson, Kenyatta Gant, Wahylain Brown, Sarah Mikell, and Tevin Gordon. A host of nieces, nephews, and cousins
Elder Maude Saunders served her community and local churches for many years to name a few of her hands on accomplishments are: President of the Estill High School Band Booster Club, Hampton County Ministerial Alliance, Guardian At Litem Program Counselor, Hampton County School District # 2 as a Volunteer Reading Coach, Mt. Moriah Worship Center Afterschool and Summer Program Facilitator.
Maude’s love for people but especially children was overwhelmingly noted throughout the years and in her community, but her greatest achievement was when she integrated Estill High School under the Martin Luther King, Jr. Integration Act of 1965.