W.E. “Sandy” Sanford, age 77, and life long resident of Orange, died on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010, at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth, surrounded in love by his family and friends. The funeral will be held at 3 p.m., Thursday, March 4 at the First United Methodist Church under the direction of Claybar Funeral Home. Officiating will be Tom Stephenson with First United Methodist Church. Burial will follow at Orange Forest Lawn Cemetery.  Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, at Claybar Funeral Home Chapel.

Sandy was born on Feb. 9, 1933, in East Mayfield, Texas. His parents were Nulon and Marie Sanford. He was married to Virginia McDonald Sanford, his high school sweetheart, for 54 years. He attended Lutcher Stark High School and was a graduate of Lamar University. Sandy was retired from Sandoz Corporation where he served as the safety and environmental director.

Sandy was a life long member of First United Methodist Church in Orange and was involved in many capacities. Early in his marriage, he and his wife served as youth sponsors. His joy for mentoring and teaching youth remained throughout his life. Sandy served as a lay leader for the church many times and was a knowledgeable bible instructor. Out of love for his church, he initiated the praise and worship service, and was the co-founder of the Golden Triangle Emmaus Community. Sandy was very active in the Orange County community. As a young man he served as a Red Cross swim instructor, and commissioner of the Orange County Little League. He was a board member for the Salvation Army, and a long time member of the Lions Club. He was a recent and devoted volunteer for Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters, and three brothers. He will be reunited in heaven with his two beloved sons, Barton and Christopher.

Sandy is survived by his wife, Virginia; and two daughters, Shelley Davis of Key West, Fla., and Tracey Wild of Nacogdoches; two sons-in-law, John Davis, and Tom Wild; and four grandchildren, Gabriel Sanford Reddoch, John Zachary Davis, Alexandra Wild, and Thomas “Trey” Wild.

Memorials can be made to the First United Methodist Church in Orange or to the Methodist Hospital Kidney Transplant Center in Houston at 832-667-5816.