Holmes Beach official Saunders died Saturday
Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said he was shocked to learn Sunday
night that building official Bill Saunders had died.
knew he was struggling, but I didn’t expect to lose him so quickly,
Bohnenberger said, recalling that he had hired Saunders in March 1996
as a part-time building official and a job that quickly went to full
time in July.
Bohnenberger recalled, “I
was home ironing a shirt to wear to a meeting that night and Bill called, responding
to a request for an interview, so I asked him to come by the house. It was a
sort of ‘shirt-sleeve’ interview,” he
said, “a typical Island interview, the sort of thing that just happens
in a small town.”
Bill has left a void at Holmes Beach city hall, where
the folks who answer the phones didn’t quite know what to say Monday to
people asking for him. The mayor said he told the staff to tell people “Bill
won’t be back,” but,
he added, it wasn’t easy.
“He’d been on sick leave on and off
for several months, and, just within the past few weeks, wife Millie had inquired
on Bill’s behalf about
disability,” Bohnenberger said.
“He was a great asset for the city,
and a great friend,” the mayor
said. “He’ll be missed.”
William “Bill” Saunders,
76, of Holmes Beach, died Feb. 21.
in Ashland, Va., Mr. Saunders moved to Sarasota 25
years ago from Washington, D.C., then to Holmes Beach. He was the building
official for Holmes Beach, as well as serving on occasions as interim
building official for Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach. He was a general
contractor and concrete contractor. He was past president
of the Anna Maria Island Rotary Club.
Services will be held at
a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to
Tidewell Hospice and Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34239,
or Little Angels Dog Rescue, 3288 S.E. Hansel Ave., Arcadia FL 34266.
He is survived
by wife Millie: daughters Susan Bondi, Mae MacKenzie
of Paris, France, Jennifer Lignon of New York, and Shawn Schneider of
Parrish, Fla.; son Joe of California; brothers in Virginia and Georgia;
12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.