Joseph H. Saunders Jr., 71, an Alexandria architect who designed the T.C. Williams High School, the Tulloch Memorial Gymnasium at George Washington Junior High and numerous other public and private buildings during a career of almost 40 years, died Sept. 12 at Alexandria Hospital. He had pancreatitis and heart ailments.

Mr. Saunders, a member of the American Institute of Architects, established a practice in architecture and engineering in Alexandria in 1942.

He continued it until 1980, when he retired and his firm, Saunders, Cheng and Appleton, was sold.

Over the years he designed several firehouses in Alexandria, St. Clement's Episcopal Church, and Alexandria Hospital, where he later was a member of the board of directors.

Active in civic and service organizations, he was a past president of the Virginia Jaycees, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and the Alexandria Rotary Club. He was a past national vice president of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce.

He also was chairman of the architecture and construction committee of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade and the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review. He was a member of the Alexandria Advisory Committee for Community Improvement and the Alexandria advisory tax committee and the building code advisory board.

In addition, Mr. Saunders was a former senior warden at Christ Episcopal Church and a member of the Belle Haven Country Club.

Mr. Saunders was born in Richmond and raised in Newport News. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a degree in engineering and from Harvard University with a degree in architecture.

Survivors include his wife, Gladys Crawford Saunders of Alexandria; two children, Joseph H. III of Lorton, and Anne Henderson of Shaker Heights, Ohio; two sisters, Elizabeth Greenman and Jane McMurran, and one brother, Robert Saunders, all of Newport News, and three grandchildren.