James Severance Sanford Jr.


James Severance Sanford Jr.

James Severance Sanford Jr. – February 11, 1922 – October 27, 2010

Jim Sanford died in his sleep in Edmonds, WA on October 27, just two weeks after his beloved wife of 68 years, Ruth passed away.  He will be missed by his daughters, Vicki Fisher and Denise Cole as well as his extended family and dear friends.

Jim was born in California to James and Ida Sanford.  As a young man, growing up during the great depression, he was passionate about learning and a talented athlete.  Obtaining a football scholarship, he was able to attend Western Washington University and was the first member of his entire extended family to attend and graduate from college. During school he met and married Ruth and together they had three daughters, Janet, Vicki and Denise.

Jim and Ruth - Birding

After serving in the navy during WWII, Jim continued his education and worked on post graduate studies in history, just stopping short of finishing his dissertation for his doctorate degree from the University of Washington.  Jim’s life is best characterized that of a life-long learner.  He studied cultures of the world, economics, astronomy, ancient civilizations, religions, and geology to name just a few of his interests.  When he could no longer see well enough to read he listened to hundreds of books on tape or his dear wife, Ruth would read aloud to him daily.  Together they thrived on the arts, enjoying season tickets to the symphony, opera and theater.  Trips to Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival became an annual event for family and friends.

Jim worked in management with Boeing for over 30 years, heading up numerous Aero Space and military aviation projects.  In his spare time Jim became an accomplished photographer and avid mountaineer.  Serving two terms as the president of the Mountaineers in the 60’s and 70’s Jim taught, climbed and wrote about climbing.  Together with his wife Ruth, they climbed well into their late sixties; after which time, they became avid birders as Jim snapped pictures along the way.  Many people enjoyed their annual holiday cards with a different photographed bird every year.

Jim continued his active lifestyle into his eighties even after he lost the use of his legs, he and Ruth worked out at their favorite gym in Burien, pumping iron and always finding new ways to stay fit.  He loved life, loved his family and friends and will be dearly missed.

Grandpa Jim with his Great Granddaughter on Orcus Island

Jim is survived by his two daughters Vicki (grandchildren Nick Shadel, Ali and Nate Fisher) and Denise (son in-law Rich Cole and grandchildren, Maddy Day, Luke and Jimmy Cole), and daughter Janet’s two wonderful sons, Geoff Bridgman (granddaughter in-law Patty and great grandchildren Justin and Delaney) and Jonathan Bridgman (granddaughter in-law Jeannie and great granddaughter Ruthie.)

Celebration of Life service will be held for both Ruth and Jim on November 2, 2010 at the Normandy Park Cove, 1500 SW Shorebrook Drive, Normandy Park, WA 98166 at 3:30.

One Response to “James Severance Sanford Jr.”

  • Phil & Annette Rice says:

    We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ruth and Jim. They were so kind to us when we lived in Seattle for 2 wonderful years over 20yrs ago. When we returned again briefly in 2008 we felt privileged to share that precious family day with them.
    Our sincere condolences to Vicky Denise and all the family. You had lovely parents and it must be so hard to lose them both so close together.
    Thinking of you
    Love Annette and Phil Rice (New Zealand)

Leave a Reply

When you have successfully submitted a comment, look in the space above to see your comment.

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

If you do not see your comment, click HERE