After he was discharged from the Air Force, he returned to Vernon where he became a successful business man being largely responsible for the development of the home construction component industry with plants in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. His plants provided hundreds of jobs in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily in rural communities across the south, maintaining headquarters in Vernon. In the mid 70s, he merged his business with the publicly traded Hoover Ball and Bearing Corporation of Ann Arbor, Mich. He then formed Sanford Resources and Sanford Oil & Gas Co., an exploration, drilling, and pipeline business in the Black Warrior Basin of Northwest Alabama and East Mississippi. In this new and exciting adventure, he was able to pursue his interest in Geology. He was intrigued with nature, the mysteries of the earth, and creation. His interest led him to another successful career, but more importantly, to a greater knowledge, and love of God. He was an Elder in the Church of Christ in Vernon, for 40 years.
His love of horses, almost matched his love of people. Riding and showing his beloved Tennessee Walking Horses, many in national championship classes, was a favorite past time. Emmett also served as a founding board member, and president, of the Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA). He was instrumental in the development of the International Tennessee Walking Horse Show.
During the last decade of his life, Mr. Sanford enjoyed spending time in Destin, Fla., with his many friends and family. While living in Destin, he developed and oversaw the revitalization of Mainsail Condominiums, and served as president of the Homeowners Association for many years.
Sanford possessed a rare gift of intelligence, work ethic, and clarity of thinking that allowed him to live a remarkable life of honor, and integrity of God, his family, his community, and country. His hometown of Vernon honored him with Man of the Year in 2006. He was loved and respected by all for his great charity. He was truly a giant among men.
Funeral services for Sanford were held on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, at 2 p.m. at the Vernon Church of Christ. Burt Hankins officiated. A graveside service followed at Vernon City Cemetery with Eddie Finch officiating. Chandler Funeral Home of Vernon directed the services.
Active pallbearers were Mr. Sanford's grandsons and nephews. Honorary pallbearers were J.C. Hutchison, Robert Hawkins and elders and deacons of the Vernon Church of Christ.
Mr. Sanford is survived by his wife of 54 years, Mrs. Kay Box Sanford; and their three children, Sheril Ann Sanford Wilson (Freddie) of Tuscaloosa, Emmett Barry Sanford (Shannon) of Columbus, Miss., and Lori Denman Sanford Dolan (Bobby) of Florence; eight grandchildren, Amanda Lorene Wilson Delchamps (Lee), Jessica Michelle Wilson, Victoria Chelsea Wilson, Stephen Barrett Sanford (Jennifer), Skyler Kay Sanford, Bobby James Dolan III, Caroline Denman Dolan, and Katherine Helen Dolan; two great-grandchildren, Jedi Stone Sanford and Oliver Wilson Delchamps; three brothers and one sister, Edward Michael Sanford (Nelda) of Fairhope, Dr. Jon Emory Sanford (Mary Anne) of Fayette, Mary Ardeean Sanford Lee (Joe) of Moody and Billy Newton Sanford (Mary Jane) of Wetumpka; two uncles, Guy O. Carmichael of Jasper and Jack Denny Sanford of Pensacola, Fla.; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Condolences can be sent to the family at www.chandlerfh. net.
Chandler Funeral Home, Vernon; 205-695-7628