Gale Eugene Sanford, 92, of Rockland, passed away Saturday morning, March 7, 2020 at Oakwood Heights in Oil City.
He was the son of Harry R. and Ruth I. (Griffin) Sanford. Gale was born on December 24, 1927. He spent his entire life on the family homestead in Rockland. He graduated in 1945, from Rockland High School. He served 2 years in the Army 27th Engineer Equipment Company, spending one year in Verdun, France. He returned to Rockland to pursue his career as a building contractor. Shortly after his return, he met the love of his life, Mary Jane (Wilson) Sanford. They were married May 7, 1955, Mary Jane passed away October 21, 1992, after 37 years of marriage.
Gale has been a life-long Christian and member of the Kennerdell Church of God. He recently was part of a gathering to celebrate the church’s five members over 90 years of age.
Gale was a very talented and articulate builder. Never advertising, his business was built on his honesty and trustworthy reputation. He has remodeled and built many churches, houses and cottages in the area. He was also a Christmas tree farmer and planted and sold thousands of trees.
He has always had a vast knowledge of cars and trucks, and has a very extensive collection of car and truck literature. He has enjoyed owning antique vehicles and going to car shows. He was always proud of never getting a loan, and always paid cash for all of his vehicles.
Mr. Sanford enjoyed country music, and often spent Saturday evenings at the Wheeling Jamboree with his family. He has written two poetry books with more than 200 poems about his children and life in Rockland, many whimsical limericks, all with a great sense of humor. He has hand written a copy of each book for his sister and each of his children in his own perfect handwriting.
He enjoyed laughing and reminiscing with his family. Gale is survived by his children and their families. Kathy O’Neil, Franklin, and her children, Shane O’Neil, Kelly O’Neil, Ryan D. O’Neil, of Franklin, and Megan (Mitch) Yeager of Rockland; Dan (Jan) Sanford, of Rockland, and their children Hilary Sanford, Ben Sanford, and Zack Sanford, Rockland, all of Rockland; Greg (Chrissy) Sanford, and Greg’s daughter, Cassandra (Justin) Montello, of Lakewood Ohio, and their children (his great-grandchildren) Landon, Leo and Noah; Elaine (Gary) Osborne, and their children, Katie (Ryan T.) O’Neil, and their children, (his great-grandchildren) Denali, Danica and Delayna Wenner of Cranberry, Tyler (Ashleigh) Osborne their children, (his great-grandchildren) Oakleigh, MaKenleigh, and Coraleigh of Rockland, a step great-granddaughter, Sydney O’Neil of Cranberry. He is also survived by his sister, Mary Sanford of Rockland, a niece, Sarah Margherio, and nephews, Matt Elliston and Mark Elliston; and a friend, Donna Bromley.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, as well as an infant daughter, Laura Lee; a grandson Nick Sanford (killed in a car accident in 2003); and an infant grandson Chad O’Neil; two infant great- grandchildren, Whitney Wenner and Baby Boy Osborne; a sister, Eileen Elliston of Oil City; and a son-in-law, Jerry O’Neil.
The family would like to thank AseraCare Hospice; the 1st floor staff of Oakwood Heights Retirement Community for their kindness and compassion; and Pastor Bobbie Nelson and her husband Ray for their visits, prayers and encouragement.
Friends will be received Tuesday (March 10) from 3 - 7 p.m. in the Hile-Best Funeral Home, 2781 Rte. 257 in Seneca. A funeral service will be held Wednesday (March 11) at 11 a.m. in the Kennerdell Church of God (151 Watson Ave. in Kennerdell) with Rev. Bobbie Nelson, church pastor, officiating. Private interment will follow in the Rockland Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one's choice. To express online condolences to the family, please visit www.hilebest.com
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