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Anne Leah Register Sanford, beloved wife of the late Clifford Weldon Sanford, Jr. for 66 years, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Twin Lakes Community Healthcare.
Anne was born on July 29, 1928 in Columbus, Georgia to the late Benjamin F. Register and Anne Barton Register. She attended Jordan High School in Columbus and was a campus leader in academic honor organizations, student groups, and a member of the cheerleading team. Anne passionately continued her cheerleading as a die-hard fan of the UNC Tar Heels.
Anne had a love for gardening, music, travel, and reading. She was a life-long learner who taught her children and grandchildren about the importance of education, the meaning of hard work, the rewards of engaging life with purpose and passion, and most importantly, that every human being deserves to be treated with respect.
After earning a degree in Elementary Education with honors at Auburn University, Anne began a distinguished career as an educator, scholar, and administrator. Her passion for reaching children at all levels of ability inspired her to complete the master’s degree program in Early Childhood Education at UNC Chapel Hill, where she was honored with numerous awards for her leadership and academic accomplishments. Later, in 1979, she was named the first recipient of the “Anne Sanford Award,” created to honor an outstanding student selected by the faculty of the school.
Anne was the creator and director of the Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project in 1972, where she transformed approaches and attitudes about education for disabled children. As co-author of “The Learning Accomplishment Profile” and numerous other innovative teaching materials, she trained teachers nationally and internationally how to help each and every child reach their full potential. Her assessment and instructional materials were translated and utilized in China, Egypt, Guam, and Puerto Rico. She unselfishly gave her time, energy, creativity, and resourcefulness towards developing and disseminating exemplary programs and services for young children, particularly those from low income homes and for those with handicapping conditions, evermore moving the field forward. Anne never sought personal recognition for her professional work, but her tireless effort on behalf of children was recognized widely. In honor of her contributions she received commendations from the President of the United States, the Governor of NC, was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by the KY Bureau of Education , named Educator of the Year by the NC State Association of the ARC, and was a recipient of the national level Region IV HEW Distinguished Service Award. She served on task forces at the national and state levels and on numerous advisory boards and committees of professional organizations. Anne made tremendous contributions to the betterment of our world and overcame so many stereotypes and boundaries facing professional women in the 70’s and 80’s. Oh, that we should all leave such a profound and positive mark on humanity.
Anne’s greatest legacy is her large and loving family. We will miss her grace, loving smile, generous spirit, wonderful sense of humor, and genuine love of each and every family member. She loved all of her children deeply, but she always waited with childlike anticipation to hear stories about her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She so enjoyed looking at pictures, face-timing toddlers, hearing about their accomplishments, and holding newborns in her lap.
Anne was predeceased by her beloved husband Cliff in 2017, with whom she shared an incredibly special relationship. Their family was born out of a love and closeness that may never be duplicated. Anne was also predeceased by her son Jerry, yet she is survived by daughter-in-law Jean; son Larry (Rhonda); son Steven (Debbie); son Michael (Anne); son David (Lola); daughter Susan (Foster); grandchildren: Laura, Jody, Christi, Monica, Jamie, Keli, Mandi, Juli, Jeanie, Kimberly, Kristie, Mitch, Luke, Emily, Trey and Jordan; and great-grandchildren Riley, Jordan, Taylor, Jonathan, Jacob, Hannah, Haley, Macey, Elysa, Kalyn, Avery, Peyton, Abigail, Cohen, Cannon, Cliff, and Kai.
The family would like to express their deep appreciation to the incredibly kind and compassionate caregivers of The Orchard at Coble Creek Healthcare at Twin Lakes Retirement Community and to Hospice of Alamance and Caswell. You brought dignity, respect, a gentle touch, and loving kindness to her final days. You are truly angels.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, July 14, at 1:30pm in the Foley Chapel in the Coble Creek Health Care Center, Twin Lakes Community, Burlington, NC, 27215, with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Anne R. Sanford to: The Twin Lakes Auxiliary Scholarship Program, Twin Lakes Community, 3701 Wade Coble Dr., Burlington, NC. This organization provides financial support for post-secondary education to the dependents of Twin Lakes staff.