Funeral services for Thomas W. Sanford will be held at Lakeland Presbyterian Church on Friday, October 22, 2021, at 11:00 AM. Visitation will be at Ott and Lee Funeral Home in Brandon, MS from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM on Thursday, October 21, 2021.
In the early part of the Great Depression, Thomas W. Sanford, was born in Blytheville, Arkansas, on April 15, 1929. He was the fourth son of Benjamin Jefferson and Nola Finney Sanford, who relocated to Jackson, MS in 1939. His father died when Tom was 12 years old. With his older brothers away in military service during World War II, Tom got a job at an early age to help support his widowed mother. One of those jobs was working at the Clarion Ledger during which time he paid his way throughout his high school and college years. He graduated from Central High School in three years and from Millsaps College, cum Laude, in three years. He later graduated from Jackson School of Law, cum Laude, with a Jurist Doctorate degree, which became Mississippi College School of Law. He was licensed to practice law in all courts in the State if Mississippi, including the Supreme Court of Mississippi and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mississippi College School of Law honored him with a special recognition ceremony for having been in the practice of law for 50 years. He continued to practice for several years beyond that time with a few select clients.
Cherished blessings include his wife, Joyce Holmes Sanford, with whom they celebrated more than 71 years of marriage, and their children: Thomas Sanford, Jr., Sherree Allen, Charles (Kathy) Sanford and Steven (Karin) Sanford and seven grandchildren: Kim (Ryan) Sanford, Adam Sanford, Allison Nooe, Casey (Erin) Sanford, Mason Nooe, Jesse Sanford, and Will Sanford. Great grandchildren are Cody and Hunter Reed, Hayes and Tatum Sanford and another Sanford on the way.
With unwavering commitment to his family, he took great joy in family events and always made the time to attend functions when his children were involved. Tom and Joyce cherish the memories of the children's young lives when the family enjoyed camping trips, vacations, sporting events, hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, horse shows, and working together on projects. It mattered that Dad was there for each child's events and activities. He endeavored to instill in their lives love for God and country, to persevere through difficult times or tasks, and to value honesty, hard work, challenges, and responsibilities. He never hesitated to enlist the help of their sons and grandsons to build fences, a cottage on the family farm, a cabin at deer camp, an arbor, and many other projects.
A man of deep humility and devout faith in Jesus Christ, he was an active member of Lakeland Presbyterian Church, and Alta Woods Presbyterian Church prior to their move to Lakeland. He served as a Ruling Elder and Trustee at each church and ultimately was named Elder Emeritus. He had a special interest in Missions and was dedicated to helping send missionaries into the world to proclaim the Gospel message. He was generous in helping those in need.
He has a remarkable sense of purpose and an untiring resolve to each task he undertook. Along with his good sense of humor, he had a strong work ethic. He was dedicated, determined, and dependable as he honored his commitments.
Grandson Adam Sanford, who followed his grandfather's footsteps into the practice of law, penned some scripture passages along with these words of tribute to his grandfather: "Three words I would use to describe your influence in my life are faithfulness, honorable, and role model. You lived by the Word in your life. You loved God and led us in prayers. It is your faithfulness as a father and grandfather that shows me the path I should follow. I learned from you to treat everyone with honor and respect. Your love for God, Grandmother, family and people has set a high bar. You have led this family well."
Along life's journey, friends were an important part of their lives and they had continued to enjoy deep and strong friendships throughout their lives. Those frequent times of being together for meals or trips bonded them with families, friends, legal assistants, clients, and fellow attorneys. They enjoyed hosting meals for large and small gatherings. Their home was their haven where they enjoyed good music, movies, and wholesome entertainment. Tom was an avid reader and a sports enthusiast. He particularly enjoyed college football - all Mississippi teams - the New Orleans Saints - and any team in which the Manning's played. He spent time with outside activities and working in the yard was his last full-time job.
Ever appreciative for being an American and for our freedoms, Tom and Joyce were extremely grateful for the opportunities to travel across the United States, and to many foreign countries to see the beautiful world God made. Two of their most memorable trips were to the Holy Land and "Following the Pathway of Paul" which included Greece, Turkey, and Rome. God had sovereignly chosen Mississippi to be their home and while trips were enjoyable, it was always good to be home again. Although Brandon, MS is a wonderful place to live, we know there is a far greater land and a mansion awaiting in Heaven.
Survivors include sister-in-law, Christine Felts of Catlettsburg, KY and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Those who preceded him in addition to his parents are brothers and sisters-in-law: B. J. and Frances Sanford, Norman and Gerrye Sanford, and Paul and Nita Sanford, Ray and Jean Patrick, Joe and Nilwon Holmes, and brother-in-law, Kendall Felts.
Interment will be at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, MS. Memorials may be made to Lakeland Presbyterian Church, 5212 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, MS 39232.
You may offer your condolences at www.ottandlee.com.