James ‘Jim’ Sanford


James “Jim” Sanford, age 73, passed away from cancer on September 21, 2022. He was born on March 24, 1949, in his grand-parents’ home in Concord, MN, attended Pine Island Schools, was drafted into the Army and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. In 1970, he married his first love and mother of his children, Nancy Donaldson.

Jim spent many years of his life playing music beginning with the family band, The San-an-tones, and local band, The Parish Brothers. He was well known for his skill on the guitar and steel guitar as well as amazing voice. The “Gentle Giant” as he was affectionately known, was fortunate to play with numerous bands, his last one being “One Night Rodeo.” In addition to recording in Nashville, Jim played music with Hank Thompson, Willie Nelson, John Anderson, Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, Jerry Reed, Shelly West, Sharon White and the Whites, the Mandrell Sisters and many more. After seeing Jim play the steel guitar, George Strait asked him to have a beer with him, Jim had an orange juice. In addition to his musical gifts, Jim was a talented mechanic and wood worker and enjoyed using these gifts for the benefit of others. For the past several years, he enjoyed assisting his partner Linda in providing daycare for her grandchildren and special needs children. His hobbies also included riding his Harley and ATV.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Everal and Elaine Sanford. He is survived by his children, Allen Sanford (Danielle) and Ann Tlougan (Duane); partner, Linda Angell; former spouse, Nancy Sanford; grandchildren, Shelby, Kaily, and Abby Sanford, Timothy (Jordan) and Jeanette Tlougan (Christian Stewart); great-grandchild, Ava Rose; sister, Sandra (Jim) Anderson; brothers, Don (Noreen), Duane (Elaine) and Joe (Tammy) Sanford; numerous nieces, nephews, friends and his extended family, Phillip (Holly), Nathan, Heather (Troy) and Jolynn Angell, Mathew, Jamie, Samantha, Trevor, Drew, Mckenzie, Jaden, Beron, Jace, Brooklyn, Jax, Jaylen, and Jose.

An intimate burial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, October 7 at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Preston, MN. In lieu of a funeral, Jim had requested his family and friends gather for a fun and casual celebration of his life. The celebration of life is to be held following the service, approximately 5pm, at the home of his brother, Don Sanford. Please call Don at 507-259-4038 or Allen at 507-421-4702 for details.

The family would like to thank the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis and Rochester, St. Mary’s Hospital, and St. Croix Hospice. 

In lieu of flowers or money, please donate to the MN VA hospital or Cancer Society.

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