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Donnie Ray Sanford
December 20, 1955 ~ February 5, 2024 (age 68) 68 Years Old
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Our dad, Donnie Ray Sanford, (68) born December 20, 1955 in Spartanburg, South Carolina passed away peacefully on February 5, 2024 in Columbus, Ohio surrounded by the love and comfort of his family and dearest friends. He is preceded in death by his parents Leroy and Sadie Sanford, brothers Kenneth Sanford and Eugene Sanford, sisters Joann Paris, and Judy Sanford. He leaves behind three sons, Donnie Sanford II, Ethan Sanford and Timothy Sanford, a sister Brenda (Dale) Gilstrap as well as a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was an early graduate of Dorman High School class of 1974 in Spartanburg where he played football and baseball and attended some college at Spartanburg Technical College. He began working as a contractor in the construction and remodeling fields and eventually with hard work and dedication owned and operated his own company. We remember him as being the guy where anything that needed fixed, he would fix it. If someone wanted to know how to do something, he would share his knowledge on doing so.
Those traits also allowed him to coach and develop kids in organized sports. He saw potential when others didn’t that allowed kids to develop better athletic skills. He took his experiences as an athlete himself and helped secure confidence in those he mentored. He coached on all three of his sons teams and showed little favoritism while coaching to ensure every kid on the team got a fair chance.
Donnie had a passion for the great outdoors and was definitely seen as an outdoorsman. Any opportunity to go camping or drop a line in the water to catch a fish, he would take without hesitation. He was also an avid boater. He grew up hunting small game and enjoyed passing along those skills and experiences to his sons while they were growing up.
Donnie spent several years as a musician playing the bass guitar for the church band as well as singing backup vocals. He would never travel far without having a musical instrument with him. He enjoyed music and listened to a large variety of country both old and new, rock n roll, and southern gospel. Later he took on the roll of a booking agent for local southern gospel acts and ensured they had management support as well.
Our dad was always quick with a joke and thrived on laughter. He had excellent people skills and was quickly a friend to whomever he met. He would always make sure everyone in the room was included. He had many accomplishments, but if you were to ask him, he would say the greatest of any of them were his three sons Donnie, Ethan and Timothy. There will be an unfillable gap in the world without him but the memory of him will remain in our hearts forever.
The family will receive friends Thursday, February 8 from 3-4 p.m. at the Cotner Funeral Home, where his service will follow at 4:00 p.m.