Saundra Esther Gaines was born October 21, 1948, to the late Romeo & Ruth Gaines. On September 30th, 2023, Saundra went home to her Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, peacefully surrounded by the angels of God and her loved ones.
Saundra was born in Homestead, Pennsylvania, and was the 2nd eldest of six children. Saundra spent her early childhood in Homestead and graduated from Homestead Senior High School in 1966. Saundra went on to attend Allegheny County Community College in 1969 where she received her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. In 1972 she attended Pittsburgh Public School Practical Nursing Program and obtained her Nursing License.
Saundra started her career as a Licensed Practical Nurse for the VA Hospital, and she was employed there for 10 years. She continued to advance within her professional career and was offered a role as a Physician Assistant in Morgantown, West Virginia, in 1982. Saundra enjoyed her career but more than anything she wanted to be closer to her siblings and parents in Texas. In 1989, Saundra relocated to Bryan, Texas where she could continue her career and be closer to family. In 1992, she was united with her son Michael Gaines, who changed her life for the better and became the center of her world.
Saundra and her son Michael moved to Safford, Arizona in 1996 and they were welcomed with open arms by the entire community of Safford. After 33 years of service between the VA hospital and the Bureau of Prisons, Saundra retired in 2005. She didn’t stay retired for long and decided to take on a new career path in education. Saundra was a technical teacher at San Carlos High School for 7 years. After retiring from education Saundra started a home health care based business and successfully operated the business until her passing.
Saundra’s life was a life of service to her Lord and Savior. She served humbly at New Life Church with the Project Luke Helper (an annually give away of Christmas Gifts), she was an Adult Sunday School Teacher, and part of the Worship Team. She moved to Pilgrim Star Baptist Church where she served as the Secretary, Children’s Sunday School Teacher, and Treasurer. In her community she served on the Advisory Council of SEAGO, she served on the Gila Valley Leadership Class Nine Alum. She started her business Health Care Registry LLC where she worked closely with SEACU on many projects. She participated in the Local Shark Tank where she received $500 plus an advertising package provided by Double R Communications and gift cards from Wick Communications.
Saundra welcomed her two grandchildren Traevon in 2009 and Jayde in 2013. Saundra adored and cherished her grandchildren and enjoyed making memories with them.
Saundra was a loving Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Aunt and friend. She loved to help those in need and loved rooting for her Pittsburgh Steelers. To cherish her memory, she leaves behind her son Michael (Kayla), her grandchildren Traevon and Jayde, sisters Joyce Alexander of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jacqueline Gaines and Jeri (Precious) Davis of Bryan, Texas, brothers Delbert (Lonia) Gaines of Houston, Texas, Duane (Linda) Gaines of Denton, Texas and Lillian Hearne of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and several nieces & nephews.
She was preceded in death by: Romeo Gaines (Father) Ruth Gaines (Mother), Gregory Gaines (Brother), Mable Smith (Paternal Aunt), Harry Burgess and Wilbert Burgess (Maternal Uncles).
The family would like to thank the staff at Banner Desert Medical Center, Banner Thunderbird Medical Center & The Center at Arrowhead for their wonderful care. The family would also like to thank the community of friends and neighbors for their prayers, support and contributions.
Services for Saundra will be held on Friday evening, October 13th with a viewing & visitation from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at the McDougal's Caldwell Funeral Chapel with the funeral service being held on Saturday, October 14th at The Way World Outreach Church located on Entertainment Avenue in Safford, beginning at 11:00 a.m. The burial will follow services in the Safford Cemetery.