Christian 03

Mary Joann Sanford

September 11, 1933 ~ July 31, 2020 (age 86)


Mary Joann Sanford, 86, a lifelong resident of Rockland, passed away on July 31, 2020 at Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community.

Mary was born on September 11, 1933, the daughter of Harry R.  and Ruth Griffin Sanford.  She attended Rockland School and graduated in 1951.

Mary was a very devout and respected Christian woman.  Her life reflected her faith in God and strong moral values.  She was a lifelong member of the Rockland United Methodist Church, served on the board, and donated generously to the church and missionary endeavors.  She prayed frequently and gave excellent advice when you asked for her opinion.

After graduation from high school and with a strong and determined work ethic, she held prestigious job positions for 38 years at Pennzoil Refinery until her first retirement.  Realizing she wasn’t ready to stop working, she worked several years at Calumet Penreco in Karns City, until she didn’t like driving in winter weather.  She then went to work until her third retirement at the Venango County Historical Society.

Mary was an avid reader.  She loved history and research.  She wrote several informative books about cemeteries in our area.  Mary had obtained two volumes of the Sanford History from the 1600’s to the early 1900’s.  She spent hours keeping them updated with every current birth, which was much appreciated by the family.  She loved biographies and read and admired Donald J. Trump.  She loved all animals especially dogs and served on the board at the Humane Society for a while.  She was a beautiful tailored seamstress and hated to cook.  In 1968, she surprised us when she went to buy a car and came home with a yellow Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport with black stripes.

She is survived by seven nieces and nephews, Matt Elliston and his wife, Laurie, of Clarion, Sarah Margherio of Oil City, Mark Elliston of Oil City, Kathy O’Neil of Cranberry, Dan Sanford and his wife, Jan, of Rockland, Greg Sanford and his wife, Chris, of Oil City, and Elaine Osborne and her husband, Gary, of Kennerdell, and many great and great great nieces and nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, a sister, Ilene Ellison and her brother-in-law, Robert Elliston, her brother, Gale Sanford and sister-in-law, Mary Jane Sanford.

Friends will be received at the Rockland United Methodist Church from 10:00 a.m. – 12 Noon Tuesday.  A funeral service will follow from the church at 12 Noon with the Rev. John Miller, a retired United Methodist pastor, and the Rev. Megan Berkebile, church pastor, officiating.  Interment will be in Rockland Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Venango County Humane Society, 286 S. Main St., Seneca, PA 16346.  Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Hile-Best Funeral Home Inc., Seneca, Cranberry Twp.  Condolences may be sent by visiting

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