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Joe Sanford

Horace Sanford, known as “Joe”,  departed from his earthly life on November 15, 2017 to go home to be with his Heavenly Father, there to join his parents and siblings.  Joe had a blessed life, even with afflictions, which caused his faith in God to grow stronger as life went on.  Joe never complained about his problems, but was quick to offer prayer and words of encouragement to others who experienced sickness and other hurtful situations.

Joe was born on March 4, 1934 in Rockingham, a son of Robert and Ann Sanford, during the depression years and prior to WWII.  Joe had an interesting life, growing up at a time when there were not a lot of luxuries, but always enough to take care of the necessities of a growing family.

Joe enlisted in the Navy, while still in his teens, and served aboard a destroyer during the Korean War.  Between  a tour of duty in Korea, his ship was based in San Diego and Hawaii.  Later in life, Joe was fortunate to be able to show many where his ship was based in Hawaii.

Joe was discharged in 1956 and soon after was able to get a job with the Western Electric Co. in Charlotte, NC.    His job consisted of traveling in the southern states installing telephone equipment in central telephone offices.  After several years of traveling and also having gotten married to Mary, Joe decided to leave his job and obtain further education. 

In 1958,  Joe enrolled at Presbyterian Junior College in Maxton, NC.   Joe attended PJC for two years, graduated in 1960 and transferred to St. Andrews College (now University) and graduated in 1962 in the first graduating class.  He worked to maintain a good GPA and graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Business Administation  and Accounting.

Joe interviewed for a job in Dec of 1961, with the J.P. Stevens Co. in Rockingham and was offered a job and went to work in 1962 after graduation as a management trainee.  Joe held various jobs during his career and retired on disability in 1994. 

Having a full job, Joe reluctantly agreed to assist RTC (now RCC) to teach accounting courses at night for one quarter.  That one quarter extended to 48 quarters, beginning in 1973 and ending in 1985.  This was a rewarding job for Joe as he felt that he had helped a lot of students to prepare for the future.


Joe was active in his former church, Cameronian Presbyterian Church, having served twice as an elder and many years as the church treasurer.  Joe wrote the history of the church and had a number of copies published, which many members still have a copy.  In 2005,  Joe left Cameronian and joined a newly formed church, Covenant Presbyterian Church and became the first church treasurer and held that office for several years.

Joe was active during his life, having belonged to several organizations.  He joined the Rockingham Jaycees in the sixties and was a member for several years.  In the sixties, he joined the Rockingham Optimist Club and remained a member until the club disbanded in 2011.  In the 90’s,  Joe became a Master Mason of which he was still a member.  He also became a member of the Scottish Rite Charlotte Chapter and a member of the Oasis Shrine of Charlotte,

Joe married Mary Bailey of Rockingham on January 28, 1957.  Together, they have shared a wonderful life, loving each other all their married life.  Joe and Mary enjoyed traveling, especially to Walt Disney World, Joe’s favorite destination.  Joe and Mary were the parents of one daughter, Gerry Lynn, who was born in Jan of 1958.  Gerry has been a constant source of love and support for her parents.  Joe had two really close friends, Peggy Warren and Billy Prevatte.  Peggy had been a part of our family for many years.  Billy and Joe had a thing in common – they both loved Walt Disney World.

Joe is survived by his loving wife Mary; daughter Gerry Lynn and her partner Jim Bullard.    Also surviving is a sister, Shirley and John Thompson of Decatur, Texas;  brother-in-law,  Bill and Catherine Bailey, Jerry and Sharon Bailey, Kenneth Chavis and sister-in-law, Carolyn Sanford Chavis.  He is also survived by an uncle, Donnie Bailey and three lovable constant companions, two yorkies, Noel and Nola and a Westie, Abbie.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Ann McCaskill Sanford; brothers, Jim, Tom and Boyd; and sisters, Annie Mae and Kay.  He was also preceded by his greatly loved father-in-law, L.D. Bailey and his second mother, mother-in-law, Rosa Bailey who lived with Joe and Mary for twenty years and was a constant lovable companion.


Funeral services will be held at Covenant PCA on Friday the 17th at 2:00 p.m. with Mike Moreau officiating.  Visitation will be before the service at 1:00 pm.   Interment will follow the service at Richmond Memorial Park. Online condolences may be made at www.watson-kingfuneralhome.com  Watson-King Funeral Home assisted the family.

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