Vanessa Mae Saunders


Vanessa Mae Saunders, 35, who resided on the Tonto Apache Reservation, died Aug. 27, 2006 in Payson. She was born Sept. 14, 1970 in Payson.

Mrs. Saunders attended local schools. She also attended Riverside Indian School in California for a year, but because of her health, she had to return to Arizona.

She attended the National Education Center and received a certificate as a legal executive secretary. She then attended the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, N.M. where she majored in secretarial sciences and graduated in 1991.

She served as an intern for Governor Rose Mofford for two years.

She returned to Payson where she worked as tribal secretary for the Tonto Apache Tribe, of which she was a member.

Mrs. Saunders is survived by her husband, Randy Saunders; mother, Jeri DeCola; father, Van Johnson; brothers, Calvin Johnson and Mark Johnson of Payson, and Steven Johnson of Tempe; sisters, Belinda Guerra of Payson and Trudy Clark of Camp Verde, and her dog, Tipper. She is also survived by several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31 in the Tonto Apache Reservation Gymnasium.

Arrangements handled by Messinger Payson Funeral Home. An online guest book is available at

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