We are saddened to announce the passing of Thomas “Tom” Richard Sanford, age 78, of Nashville, TN. He departed peacefully in his home on April 13, 2023 in Gallatin, TN.
Tom was born on August 23, 1944 in Cookeville, TN to Thomas Reynolds Sanford and Verna Stout Sanford. He enjoyed a close relationship with his sister, Jane, until her death in 2015.
He attended St. Joe’s Prep before beginning undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University. Tom also served as a Bomb-Navigator on B-52s in the US Air Force’s Strategic Air Command during the Vietnam War. After his service, he graduated with honors from Middle Tennessee State University with a double major in Marketing and Finance and a minor in English. While there he met, and later married, Virginia Hill of Nashville, his wife of 53 years. Shortly after their marriage the pair had two children, Tara and T.R.
Tom was a talented marketer and had a long career in sales at Scott Paper Company that saw them make their home in a variety of places including: Miami, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Tallahassee, FL; and Charleston, SC before returning home to Tennessee. Once back in Tennessee, Tom served as Executive Director of the Porcelain Enamel Institute for many years.
Tom was a man of many interests and a lifelong learner. He loved acquiring knowledge for knowledge’s sake. His hobbies over the years included photography, sailing, astronomy, hunting, fly fishing, and of course, flying remote control airplanes. After his retirement in 2010, he could be routinely found at “the Airfield” (Edwin Warner Park), where he flew an impressive collection of radio control model airplanes (“Drones”) as a member to the Edwin Warner Model Aviators Club, or at home in “the Hanger “ (his garage) where he maintained them.
He is survived by his wife, Virginia Hill Sanford; children Tara Sanford Kleinpeter (Shawn) and Thomas “T.R.” Reynolds Sanford II (Gwen); brother-in-law Randy Means; sisters-in-law Grace Hawkins (Ed) and Mary Ann McMahan (Jack); grandchildren Elizabeth Sanford, Charlotte Sanford, Emmi Kleinpeter, and Ava Kleinpeter; several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews; and his devoted dog “Clancy.”
The family will receive friends on Saturday, April 29, 2023 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home in Nashville, TN where a celebration of Tom's life will be conducted at 1:30 pm.