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Alan Sanford (AC4KU)
January 10, 2015
Alan C. Sanford, 91, was peacefully called home by his God the evening of Saturday, January 10, 2015.
A native of St. Paul, Minn., he joined Minnesota Naval Militia while in high school. A call to active duty in 1940 led to accelerated graduation from high school and, ultimately, assignment to USS WARD (DD 139) in Pearl Harbor.
On December 7, 1941, he was on the gun crew which fired against a mini-submarine attempting to enter the harbor, the first shot of the war. USS WARD sank that submarine, which was not believed for many years. He was gratified decades later when the submarine was found and actions of USS WARD were confirmed.
After the war, he earned a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Miami and went on to an engineering career, including many years at Kennedy Space Center supporting the Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle and military spaceflight programs.
He was on the support team at the Cape for the safe return of Apollo 13 following a catastrophic in-flight explosion. His engineering career took him to a wide variety of places, including Aruba, Netherlands Antilles and Iran until 1979, when he was among the last Americans to leave following political upheaval.
Mr. Sanford was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 764 in McMurray, American Legion Post 175 in Washington, Wireless Association of South Hills, Titusville Amateur Radio Club in Florida and Space Coast Florida Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association. A 32nd Degree Mason, he was proud of his Naval service, but more proud of his family. Deceased are his parents, Lewis and Agnes Rhodes Sanford; a sister, Olive Anderson of Minnesota; a wife, Betty-Carroll McComber in 1991; and his second wife, Jewel Johnson Sanford in 2007.
Surviving are sons Leo Eugene Crimmins and wife Judy of Jackson, Ga., Capt. James Alan Sanford WB4GCS, USN (retired) and wife Patricia KC4WTT of Eighty Four, PA, and Donald Roderick Sanford of Titusville, Fla.; seven grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
He sat first chair violin in high school and loved music, reading and mind-challenging puzzles. He was an avid fan of the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers and Golf Channel.
Friends will be received from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the time of memorial service, Saturday, January 17, in Mario L. DeAngelo Funeral Home, 194 East College Street, Canonsburg, PA 15317. The American Legion Post 175 of Washington will accord a full military rite at the funeral home immediately following the service. Inurnment will be held at a later date in Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations to ViaQuest Hospice of Southwestern PA, 612 Park Avenue, Monongahela, PA 15063, (through the ViaQuest Foundation) or Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, 875 North Randolph Street, Suite 225, Arlington, VA 22203.
Contributed by: Ron Notarius W3WN (W3WN)
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