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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

Robert W. (Sandy) Sanford (WB5LET)


I was a young boy of age 15 when I first met Sandy and Mildred Sanford of Longview Texas. I had recently become a ham with the original call of WN5POJ (remember those days) when I first met Sandy face to face at a meeting of the East Texas VHF FM Society in 1977. Sandy and Mildred both took a personal interest in me and became like a grandfather and grandmother to me (all but one of my blood grandparents were deceased before I was 5 years of age). Sandy retired as a senior commercial pilot from American Airlines in 1970 with a seniority rating of #16. Naturally he had seen much of the world and many famous people, and some not so famous people. His stories captivated me and I sought advice from him often, even on girlfriends. I was a farmhand/cowboy kid with an interest in electronics. Sandy encouraged me to keep attending college. His best advice to me was not pushy but always with an encouraging tone. His simple words were "Jim, you ought to go down to Texas A&M and go to school there and see what happens". A little light push was all I needed, but I needed it from someone. I did not make great grades but I can say 23 years later that Sandy's advice was the best I ever received. I am now employed by Lockheed Martin as a wind tunnel test engineer at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia (see , specifically ). We make a good living here and much of that is due to the kindness and encouragement of Sandy and Mildred Sanford. I knew Sandy for the last 10 years of his life and Mildred for the last 14 years of her time. I know they are together now and I can still hear their voices. They were kind people and hospitable in every way. Our first conversation was a 15 mile 2-meter contact and our last a 1500 mile 20-meter contact. He did not tell me how ill he was, he wanted to know about me and what I was doing. I continue to correspond with their daughter Bobby-Jo and her son Embree Walker. The world was a better place for me because of Sandy and Mildred Sanford. Until another time, loved like one of your own, I still key out your callsign in CW. Jim Byrd (WB5POJ) Newport News, Virginia 757.874.3104

Contributed by: James E. Byrd (WB5POJ)

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