News & Events


It is with genuine sorrow that we send you word of the passing of Horace Saunders, our founder and first president of MMOA. He died on March 29th, 2020. He was 96 years of age (would have been 97 in May). He died comfortably with hospice care where his wife Violet also resided. 

Violet Saunders passed away Thursday, April 3, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. Her husband, Horace, preceded her in death just five days prior. 

Vi was also 96 years of age, turning 97 this May. She and Horace both resided at the same Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mt Airy, MD. Although Horace had symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, Vi did not. They lived a long life – always together, supporting each other's work and projects. It is fitting that they could not be apart for long, but went to their rest so close to the same timing. 

We do not have an address for the family of Horace and Vi, but can collect your emails and pass them on to the family once we obtain the address. And the same for cards, although with the lockdown of our MMOA office and the Non-Profit Village, it might be some time before mail can be collected.

After undergoing ostomy surgery nearly 50 years ago, Horace said he was sent home from the hospital having “no idea how to go on with my life.” As a result he and his wife, Vi, became advocates for ostomates. He visited all the hospitals in the metro-Maryland area helping to form several patient support groups. He also founded our own Metro Maryland Ostomy Association in 1974. Perhaps his greatest contribution to our world was lobbying for nurses to attend two months of specialized training to be certified as what we now call WOCNs. Most hospitals in our area now have these specialized nurses on staff.

Today Metro Maryland is still able to progress and to support ostomates – due to the foresight, diligence, and many hours sacrificed by Horace. He made a real difference with his life for all of us! 

Coming to a MMOA meeting I see how others are not just coping but living a full life. It gives me confidence I can tackle any obstacle.