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In Memoriam

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. L. Harold Sanford, SJ, who died on June 24, 2024 at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 84 years old. May he rest in peace.

Harry is survived by his brother, Charles Sanford.

Harry was born on March 16, 1940 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He entered the Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus on September 1, 1964 at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Missouri. He was ordained a priest on May 3, 1975 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Saint Louis, Missouri and pronounced Final Vows on September 6, 1980 at the Jesuit Community Chapel on the campus of Saint Louis University.

Before entering the Society, Harry studied at Oklahoma University (1958-1961) and Saint Louis University (1963-1964). While in the Society, Harry earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (1968) and a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1994) from Saint Louis University. He also earned a master’s degree in chemistry and physics from Kansas State Teacher’s College in Kansas (1972).

During regency, Harry taught chemistry and biology at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri (1969-1972). After ordination, he taught science and religion at St. John’s College in Belize City, Belize (1976-1978) before teaching science at Saint Louis University High School in Saint Louis, Missouri (1979-1991).

Harry left secondary education and, after completing nursing school, focused his energies on helping others as a registered nurse at the Fusz Pavilion Jesuit Community in Saint Louis (1994-1996) and Westwind Campus of Care in Pueblo, Colorado (1997-2000). While in Pueblo, he also performed pastoral ministry at Mount Carmel / Saint Anne Parish. In 2000, Harry was missioned to Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan, as a nurse and staff member. For over twenty years, he provided excellent care to the Jesuits at Colombiere and was greatly appreciated by the community members. Harry felt welcome and so much a part of the Chicago-Detroit Province that, in 2013, he transcribed from the Missouri Province into the Chicago-Detroit Province.

Harry was a quiet and gentle man who took very seriously Jesus’ words as stated in chapter twenty-five of Matthew’s Gospel: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” These words focused Harry’s ministry — whether as a teacher, sacramental and pastoral minister, or nurse. He was able to recognize Jesus Christ in everyone he encountered those with which he interacted and he wanted to care for them to the best of his abilities.

Harry was very generous and giving of his time and talents. In addition to providing for the physical needs of others, for many years Harry was able to provide for technological needs of the Jesuits at Colombiere Center. He would help Jesuits with computer issues, fix computers and printers and, when necessary, provide new (or slightly used) computers. This service was especially appreciated by the elder Jesuits who did not have a great understanding of these [new] technological wonders.