Norman Sanford

Norman Lee Sanford

Friday, July 20th, 1934 - Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
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Norman Lee Sanford age 85 of McHenry, IL, passed away to Jesus’ arms on January 29, 2020. Norm was born on July 20, 1934 in Kalamazoo, MI, Borgess Hospital, son of Arthur Lee and Mabel May (Worst) Sanford.

Norm grew up in Fennville, attended the Fennville Public Schools graduated from high school in 1953. He went to General Motors Institute/Kettering University, in Flint, MI and graduated with a degree in Dealership Management. He then transferred to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI and earned a four year Bachelors’ Degree with Majors in General Business and Automotive Transportation and Minors in Industrial Supervision and Psychology in1957.

In April of 1957 he married Dolores Joy Davis of Bedford, MI and was divorced in 1989.

In September, 1957 he joined the U S Marine Corps and was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, Headquarters Company. He worked for the Battalion Sargent Major running Court Martials and performed other headquarters duties. He was released from active duty in September 1959.

Surviving are his children, Laurel (Lauri) Lee Sanford of Port Washington, WI, Douglas Brent Sanford (Connie Ann) of Schaumburg, IL, Tracy Sue Sanford Banks (Willie) of McHenry, IL, and Timothy Scott Sanford (Kristy) of Crystal Lake, IL. Grandchildren; Kirsten Nicole Kelly Fletcher (Artie) of Kankakee, IL, Jordon Scott Kelly (Tara) of Round Lake, IL, Evan Nelson Sanford (Kelly), of The Colony, TX, Miranda Anneliese Sanford of Reno, NV, Sonja Kukla (Christopher) of Antioch, IL, Kathryn (Katie) Lee Sanford of Port Washington, WI, Michal Brent Sanford of Crystal Lake, IL, Taylor Jeanne Sanford of Crystal Lake, IL; eight great grandchildren, a brother in law Paul Kominisky of Fennville, MI and nephew Paul Kominsky, Jr of Ann Arbor, MI.

Preceding him in death are his parents, Arthur Lee Sanford and Mabel May Sanford and sister Beverly Jean Sanford Kominsky.

Upon release from the Corps he was employed with the International Harvester Company at the Fort Wayne, IN heavy-duty truck plant. His first assignment there was a two year training program where he worked in nearly every department in the plant. When he completed his training program he was assigned as a foreman on one of the truck assembly lines. After several years and many assignments in the assembly departments, he was reassigned to the planning department where he was responsible for liaising between design engineering and manufacturing, resolving design problems. Later he became involved in Value Analysis and teaching VA to all of the of the truck division plants. His final assignments were in the purchasing department in which he traveled the world negotiating deals on behalf of the company.

While working in Fort Wayne he studied airplane flying and earned a Commercial Pilots License. In 1966 he had a house built north of Fort Wayne near Leo, IN where he and his family lived for until 1978. This is also where they lived when their four children started school.
In 1978 he was transferred to the western Chicago IL area and worked in the IH offices in Woodfield Mall area, and later, Libertyville, and Westchester. He started for the first several years doing Value Analysis studies for all IH plants on a worldwide basis. He then went to Libertyville performing cost reduction analysis for about a year before being assign to the Westchester location at Corporate Purchasing as a Purchasing Research Engineer. In purchasing he worked with various buyers helping them with their suppliers.

Also in 1978 the family bought a house in on the Lake/McHenry County line IL, and there his three younger kids attended school in Lake County, Grant schools, Fox Lake, IL, while Lauri started her freshman year at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

With the house in northern Illinois and close to Lake Michigan he soon got involved in fishing for salmon and lake trout and other big fish. Also it made it necessary for him to get a newer, bigger boat. Soon he started taking friends out on the boat. The next year he studied with the Coast Guard and got his Captain’s License and started running fishing charter trips on weekends and other days off. He continued running fishing trips until well after he retired from Harvester/Navistar in the spring of 1998.

In winter of 2001, Norm bought a second residence in the Village of Holiday Lakes in Port Charlotte, FL. He became a snow-bird, wintering in Florida and spending the summers in McHenry, IL. He liked to say he left Illinois on Black Friday and came back north on Good Friday. Norm really enjoyed his winters in Florida, especially going salt water fishing in a small run-about he pulled back and forth. He worked in the community to get approval for a small set of boat docks for the owners, giving them access to the Gulf of Mexico. For several years, his daughter Tracy joined him in Florida, sharing his life in the south.

Norm was life-long member of the United Methodist Church. He was an usher at many of the various churches and also volunteered as a youth group advisor while in Leo. After moving to Florida, Norm became active in the Gulf Cove United Methodist Church while in Florida. He attended church services and Bible studies to strengthen his knowledge and faith. He loved the traditional hymns and also listened to the hymns in the car.

Norm also volunteered as a group leader in the local Boy Scouts of America troop in Leo, chaperoning yearly camping trips and troop meetings and encouraging boys to do their best in all their activities. He even took boys out to the National Jamboree several years. One of his proudest moments was when his son, Doug, became an Eagle Scout.

As an avid hunter from his youth (he used to skip school to go turkey hunting), Norm enjoyed deer hunting with his friends traveling to Wyoming, and later, hunting pheasant in South Dakota. This love of hunting transitioned into a passion for guns and ammunition. He collected several different kinds of guns and shared that passion with his both of his sons, Doug and Tim.

Norm’s mother was a coin collector and he inherited her interest, especially in his later years, collecting “wheatie” pennies.

Norm’s life will be celebrated on Monday, February 3rd at Colonial Funeral Home in McHenry, IL and again at 12:30 PM on Thursday, February 6th at Chappell Funeral Home in Fennville, MI. Visitation will take place at Chappell Funeral Home prior to the service, beginning at 11:00 AM. He will be laid to rest after the service at Fennville Cemetery.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, February 6th, 2020 | 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Thursday, February 6th, 2020 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Chappell Funeral Home
    637 W. Main St.
    Fennville, Michigan 49408
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, February 6th, 2020 | 12:30pm
    Thursday, February 6th, 2020 12:30pm
    Chappell Funeral Home
    637 W. Main St.
    Fennville, Michigan 49408
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Pastor Doug Tipken
  • Interment

    Thursday, February 6th, 2020 |
    Thursday, February 6th, 2020
    Fennville City Cemetery
    Hwy M-89, Fennville, 1/2 miles west of city limits
    Fennville, MI 49408
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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