Meet Paul & Tatum Saunders

Paul M. Saunders passed away peacefully at home on March 11, 2022. Click here to read his full obituary.

He was a native of Nelson County. He spent all his life in the county except for the seven years away in college, the Army, and involvement in other agricultural activities. He returned home to Nelson in 1957 with his wife, Tatum, who was a farm girl from Franklin County, VA. Initially he was an active land surveyor in addition to running a peach orchard and boxwood nursery. In 1981, he was bitten by a snake while surveying. It was then he decided to become a full-time farmer.

Paul was a 1954 graduate of Virginia Tech and was very active in Virginia Tech activities, he was past President of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, nationwide.  He loved writing about history of Nelson County and our farm. He authored multiple books including a 600+ page history book of his native Nelson County, titled, “Heartbeats of Nelson.”  He was a collector and intense student of early rural life artifacts and agricultural machinery.  Also, his love for boxwood spurred him to start the National Boxwood Trials which evaluates boxwood cultivar performance over the United States and several foreign countries. Paul and Tatum were participators in a boxwood expedition to the Republic of Georgia in 2001 searching for new boxwood cultivars.     

He was a member of Rose Union Baptist Church, he served for many years as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and deacon. He loved Nelson County, trout fishing, rabbit hunting, and most of all the farm. Paul and Tatum have seven biological sons, two adopted sons, and over 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.