George Joseph Sanford Jr., of Glastonbury, Conn., and Martha’s Vineyard, passed away at home after a brief illness on Thursday, July 4, with his family was by his side. He was 81.
George was born in Hartford, Conn., on August 29, 1931, son of George J. and Hazel (Bentley) Sanford of West Hartford. He graduated from Hartford High School, where as an all-around athlete, he lettered in baseball. His yearbook inscription says it all: “A man beloved, a man elect of men.”
He graduated from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, was a member of the UCONN “C” Club, golf team, and Sigma Nu fraternity. He met the love of his life, Marion “Mimi” Plummer, and they were married in Hartford in 1957. George was a true patriot and served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
In 1955, George started his four-decade corporate career at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft and later at United Technologies Corporation. He started as a buyer’s trainee in purchasing and in 1989 was promoted to the position of vice president of purchasing. He also served as president of United Technologies’ international operations. Those four decades included storied travel, where George delighted his six children with gifts from countries including China, Russia, and the Middle East.
In 1997, George retired from corporate life, turning his attentions to his two passions: family and golf. He spent long summers on Martha’s Vineyard with Mimi, his loving wife of 56 years, playing shark both in the water and at the card table with family and friends at the East Chop Beach Club. He was a proud supporter of the MV Sharks Wooden Bat Collegiate Team, on which his grandson plays. George was an avid golfer. He traveled the world to play but had a soft spot for both Goodwin Park Golf Club in Hartford and the Edgartown Golf Club on the Vineyard. He spent decades playing rounds and forming long-lasting friendships. A highlight of his golfing career was playing the Member-Guest Tournament at Edgartown with his son Richard. During winters, George joined Mimi in supporting the UCONN Huskies Girls Basketball Team.
George was a well-loved man who worked hard and played fair, igniting every room he walked into with his twinkling blue eyes and arresting charm. Anyone who knew him knew there was always a story at hand. He acted with honor and integrity throughout his life and inspired many others to do the same. He will be greatly missed by friends and family of all ages, on many continents, and most especially in his hometown neighborhood where for decades, Mimi and George have hosted an annual Halloween parade for hundreds of little goblins.
George was a member of the board of the East Chop Beach Club, The East Chop Tennis Club, The Trust House (Hartford), a former Representative of the Town Committee of Glastonbury, Conn., and a member of the Church of Saint Patrick-Saint Anthony in Hartford, Conn., where he volunteered on the annual golf tournament charity committee.
In addition to his wife, Mimi, George is survived by his six adoring children: Patricia Roberts and her husband, Michael, of Larchmont, NY., and their children, Michaela and Madeleine; Elizabeth Sanford of Glastonbury, Conn.; Richard J. Sanford and his wife, Christine (Mula) Sanford, of West Hartford, Conn., and their children, Nicholas and Charlotte; Jennifer Sanford of Glastonbury, Conn., and her children, Alexander and Christian; Amy Diezemann and her husband, James, of Brookfield, Conn., and their children, Martha and Anna; and James and Anne (Nelson) Sanford of Sag Harbor, NY., and their son, James Jr. George is also survived by his brother, Richard H. Sanford, and his wife, Elaine, of Venice, Fla., his sister Carol Brewer and husband, Ned, of Bloomfield, Conn., as well as his sister-in-laws Barbara Sorgio of Simsbury, Conn., and Peg Balcezak and husband, Ted, of Charleston, RI. He was predeceased by his 2-year-old daughter, Melissa, and sister-in-law Margaret (Peggy) Sanford. He will be greatly missed by his dozens of nieces and nephews.
A celebration mass for George will be held Wednesday, July 10, at 10 am at the Church of Saint Patrick-Saint Anthony, 285 Church St., Hartford, Conn. A Christian burial will follow at the Holy Cross Cemetery, 1318 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury, Conn. Calling hours will be held Tuesday, July 9, from 4 to 8pm at Mulryan Funeral Home, 725 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury, Conn. Memorial donations in George’s name may be made to the Church of St. Patrick-Saint Anthony’s charitable programs: The House of Bread, 27 Chestnut St. Hartford, CT 06120; “Sandwich Ministry,” or “Catherine’s Place.” For information visit www.sposact.org or send donations to 285 Church Street, Hartford, CT 06103.
For online condolences please visit mulryanfh.com.