Saundra Haines Fulwood, 72, of Wynnefield, a retired Philadelphia narcotics officer and the wife of Anthony Fulwood, Mayor Frank L. Rizzo’s former bodyguard, died Sunday, Jan. 5, of an aneurysm while working in her garden.
Known as “Sandy,” she was one of 15 children born to Doris and William Draper in Philadelphia. Over time, she became the matriarch of her large extended family.
She graduated from West Philadelphia High School. Known for her neat penmanship, she earned good grades, especially in mathematics, her family said in a statement.
At an early age, she married Leon Haines and gave birth to a daughter, Michelle Haines-Hegerman. The couple divorced.
She began her career in the accounting department at Acme Markets. Later, she worked as an accounting assistant in a doctor’s office at the former Graduate Hospital. She became interested in joining the Philadelphia Police Department after meeting Fulwood, although the two didn’t marry until much later.
“He encouraged her to go after the career she wanted,” said her sister, Deborah Draper.
She graduated from the Philadelphia Police Academy in her early 30s with Class 268. Shortly after joining the force, she was assigned to the narcotics unit. “She enjoyed the work,” her family said.
Her daughter followed her onto the police force and is a homicide detective. At one point, Mrs. Fulwood and Hegerman were featured in a TV segment on AM Philadelphia as one of the first mother-and-daughter police families in the city.
Fulwood was the love of her life. The couple hobnobbed with some of the city’s leading lights and liked to throw parties at their home on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia.
“Almost everyone who came in contact with Saundra loved her personality,” the family said in a statement. “She was the life of the party. She loved to sing, dance, travel, and have fun with others at theaters, restaurants, and outings.”
Hazel Singleton, who lived nearby on Osage, said Mrs. Fulwood was a good neighbor. After pickup on trash day, she would move all the empty cans from the curb to the owners’ homes.
“She loved plants and flowers, and was always trying to get us to beautify the block,” Singleton said. “She was a nice lady. She didn’t mind going the extra mile for anything. We just need more of her kind.”
Alberta Williams, another neighbor, said Mrs. Fulwood always seemed happy. “She would be very welcoming, full of laughter and jokes,” Williams said.
Mrs. Fulwood was active in the Philadelphia Guardian Civic League, the Barnes Foundation, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and.UC Green a nonprofit that plants trees on city streets.
She retired from the force in 2013. A year later, she took a job in the garden department at the Lowe’s store at 52nd and Jefferson Streets. When a neighbor shopped there, “you got a big welcome,” Alberta Williams said.
Mrs. Fulwood started every morning by reading Scriptures. She enjoyed cooking for the pastor’s meetings at Christian Stronghold Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, where she was a member.
Leon Haines died in 2016, Fulwood in 2015.
Besides her daughter, she is survived by four grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and eight siblings.