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Leon F. (Sandy) Sanford
1/15/2009

Leon F. (Sandy) Sanford, 91, Macomb, died at 9:20 a.m., Monday, Jan. 12, 2009, at The Elms Nursing Home, Macomb.

He was born Jan. 31, 1917, in Lamoine Township, McDonough County, the son of Aaron Floyd and Jeanette E. (Robinson) Sanford.

He married Mildred Louise Simmons during Officer Candidate School on July 9, 1942 at the courthouse in Gatesville, Texas. She preceded him in death Oct. 8, 1989.

He then married Virginia Lenora Lash Stout on Nov. 14, 1999. She survives.

He is also survived by one daughter, Barbara Ann Coleman, Roy, Utah; one son, Dr. Anthony Leon Sanford, Albuquerque, N.M.; one granddaughter; one great-granddaughter; four great-great-grandchildren; several cousins; and four stepchildren.

In addition to his first wife and his parents, he was also preceded in death by one son who died shortly after birth, another Kenneth Lee, who died at the age of 3, one half brother, Warren Sanford, and one half sister, Doris Smeltz.

He began elementary school when he was 7 years of age at White Flock District 120, at first in a one-room remodeled corncrib approximately three and one-half miles east of Colmar. His first teacher being Helen Payne Hunt pushed third and fourth grades through the same school year.

He began high school at Colchester Community High School in September 1930, riding horseback his freshman and sophomore years. He graduated with the class of 1934 and in September 1934 enrolled at Western Illinois State Teachers College in Macomb, attending for three years.

He joined Battery B, 123 Field Artillery, Illinois National Guard at the Macomb Armory in 1935 and attained the rank of sergeant prior to going with the unit to Camp Forrest, Tenn. in March 1941.

He was ordered to Tank Destroyer Officer Candidate School Class 1, graduating as second lieutenant in 1942.

He was engaged in combat in World War II with the 776 Tank Destroyer Battalion beginning in December 1942 in five major campaigns: Tunisia Campaign in North Africa, Naples Foggia, Rome-Arno-Cassino in Italy, Central Europe in France and Rhineland in Germany and Austria, attaining the rank of captain.

After World War II, he remained in the Army and was ordered to Japan in the winter of 1950, engaging in the Korean Conflict with artillery components of the 24th Infantry Division at first onset of battle, returning to stateside duty in 1953.

He retired from the Army at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., on June 1, 1961 after 24 years of military service and was immediately employed by the General Electric Company’s Industrial Computer Plant in Phoenix, Ariz., leaving as supervisor of quality control after 13 years.

He restored Model A Fords, keeping the best one for his son. He moved back and forth from Phoenix to Macomb with seasonal changes following the death of his wife, selling out in Phoenix in 1999.

He was a member of the VFW Post 1921 and American Legion Post 6.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, at Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home, Macomb, with the Rev. Randell Whitmire officiating.

Visitation will be held one hour prior to services.

Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery with military rites.

Memorials may be made to the Boy Scouts of America.

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