With great sadness, I announce the passing of a Bahamian treasure, the remarkable Diane Gail North-Saunders, OBE. As we approach the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence, losing such an integral part of our heritage is poignant.
Gail Saunders was more than an accomplished historian, archivist, and author. She was a beacon of light, a repository of wisdom, and a resounding voice in preserving and narrating our national story. Her life’s work was dedicated to ensuring that our history was not just accurately recorded but made accessible and meaningful to us all.
With her late husband, Winston Saunders, by her side, Gail’s life was a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and commitment. Together, they formed an intellectual powerhouse, bringing our nation’s history to life, shaping our national identity, and fostering a deep sense of pride in our cultural heritage.
Her journey began with a quiet determination, a strong academic foundation and an unyielding spirit. Gail represented our nation as one of the four women to first represent The Bahamas in an international sports competition in 1962. This early stride showcased the strength and resilience that defined her.
Gail’s enduring legacy lies in her contributions to our understanding of our past. She established the Bahamian National Archives and served as its director for over three decades, ensuring the preservation of our national memory. Her writing illuminated the complexities of our history, from her acclaimed books “Historic Bahamas,” “Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People,” to “Race and Class in the Colonial Bahamas, 1880–1960.”
Gail’s steadfast commitment to our collective memory garnered international recognition, earning her the Commonwealth honour of the Order of the British Empire in 2003 and an honorary degree from the University of the West Indies in 2004.
Gail was more than a scholar; she was a beloved wife, friend, and mentor. She was an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing her. Her legacy will continue to shape the lives of Bahamians for generations to come, inspiring us to delve into our roots, uphold our heritage, and contribute to our nation’s story.
As we mourn her passing, we celebrate her remarkable life and unwavering dedication to The Bahamas. Gail’s profound impact on our understanding of our past will forever be imprinted on the heart of our nation.
On behalf of myself and my wife, Ann Davis and a grateful nation Gail Saunders, we bid you a heartfelt farewell. Your dedication, spirit, and love for The Bahamas will forever be cherished, honoured and remembered.