NameDell Armstrong MCMILLEN
Birth Date13 Oct 1933
Birth PlaceFort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana
Death Date14 Aug 2013 Age: 79
Death PlaceMansfield, Richland County, Ohio
Burial Date17 Aug 2013
Burial PlaceMansfield, Richland County, Ohio
Burial MemoInurnment at First Congregational Church Columbarium
FlagsDASrel, MFdec, P01rel, P14rel, P16rel, P18rel, P19rel, P22rel, P24rel, P27rel, P29rel, P30rel, P31rel, P32rel, P33rel, P34rel, P36rel, P37rel, P38rel, P39rel, P40rel, P41rel, P42rel, P43rel
FatherStewart Warren MCMILLEN (~1905-<2013)
MotherElizabeth KING (~1910-<2013)
Birth Date16 Jun 1927
Birth PlaceMansfield, Richland County, Ohio
Death Date28 Apr 2017 Age: 89
Death PlaceMansfield, Richland County, Ohio
Burial Date26 May 2017
Burial PlaceMansfield, Richland County, Ohio
Burial MemoInurnment in Columbarium at First Congregational Church
OccupationElectrical Engineer-Business Manager
EducationNorthwestern University 1944-1945, University of Illinois, BSEE, 1948
Flags DAR-SAR, DASbr, DASrel, DSanc, JSbr, JSdec, KorWarVet, MF28d, MFdec, P01rel, P02rel, P14rel, P16rel, P18rel, P19rel, P20rel, P22rel, P24rel, P27rel, P29rel, P30rel, P31rel, P32rel, P33rel, P34rel, P36rel, P37rel, P38rel, P39rel, P40rel, P41rel, P42rel, P43rel, PortCom-desc, SanfJdesc, SanfToEdesc, WW2Vet
FatherHenry Bostwick SANFORD (1895-1979)
MotherIrene Elizabeth MCCANNE (1895-1981)
Family ID702
Marr Date2 Jan 1999
Marr PlacePompano Beach, Broward County, Florida
Marr MemoMarried in their Coastal Arms Apartment., 1410 S. Ocean Blvd., S-5
Notes for Dell Armstrong MCMILLEN
Always called “Boots”
Notes for Allen McCanne (Spouse 2)
(Henry Bostwick, Henry Huggins, Henry Phelps, Peleg Phelps, Peleg, Peleg, William, John, Samuel, John)

Allen McCanne Sanford

MANSFIELD: Allen McCanne Sanford, 89, died Friday, April 28, 2017 unexpectedly but peacefully at his home in Mansfield.

Services: A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday morning 27 May 2017 at the First Congregational Church of Mansfield, followed by a reception at the church.

Allen will be dearly missed by the many who knew him as Mansfield's own "Music Man". Hundreds will remember the parties, both planned and impromptu, where Allen would generate joyful sing-along concerts around his piano, with a ukulele or with one of his dance bands. The memories of parties, songs and laughter are beyond legendary to those of us that grew up and grew old with Allen and his love for music and for his friends and family. He was "The Man" when it came to helping us all enjoy and participate in music even when we thought we had no talent.

We can all feel comfort in knowing that Allen's final months were spent with optimism, hope, an immensely busy schedule and with what seemed to be ever improving health and strength after a fall in November 2016. He was once again driving to his appointments and dinners in his new car and after his fall he had progressed from using a wheel chair to a walker, to two canes, and eventually to one cane only. His mind was sharper than ever and, he was still singing!

On 28 April however, the Lord reached down to Mansfield and tapped Allen on the shoulder after he finished lunch in his apartment, letting him know that it was time. Apparently many folks "up there" including friends and family (and three loving former wives) had gathered together to sing with him. They had likely been waiting for quite awhile, since at least last November. But Allen was getting stronger and looking like he would continue on to 95 or 100! The Lord said it was not to be; and enough is enough! So Allen now plays his piano (or harp, which he surely learned to play in a matter of 15 minutes or so) surrounded by loved ones singing together. I'm not sure how his song "Lord It's Hard to be Humble" will go over up there, but with a wink of an eye and a big hug everyone will end up happy.

Allen was born in Mansfield on 16 June 1927 and attended school and violin lessons in Mansfield until 1943. In high school at Mansfield Senior High he taught himself to play the alto sax and the sousaphone in order to participate in the concert and marching band and a dance band. In 1943, Allen enlisted in the Navy to serve in WWII. The Navy put him in an officer program and he entered Northwestern University and eventually the U. of Illinois where he graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. While at Northwestern he met his future wife Anabel. He also joined the SAE fraternity which was an important anchor to him throughout his life in many ways. Most of his friends didn't know that it was as a young skinny and painfully shy Allen Sanford "pledge" at the SAE frat house, watching an upperclass frat brother frantically bang chords on an old upright piano at parties, that triggered his love of sing-along music as a means to overcome his shyness. Allen's previous musical training had been mostly classical and formal with mother Irene having studied concert piano at Oberlin and a father Henry that played the violin. Once away from home for the first time, Allen embraced this new "banging chord by ear method" and quickly learned that he didn't have to be perfect for a change. Rather, he could create rhythm, a bit of harmony and occasionally a note or two of melody mixed in to keep the sing-along voices close to the right note as people sang. This would become his signature style that he perfected over the next 70 years.

This part of Allen's life is worth describing because so many of his friends and family will smile with sweetly flooding memories. In fact, any tears with these memories should be tears of joy and a little jealousy that those songs are now bursting forth with old acquaintances who had been waiting for him.

It is true that music was always with Allen, but his contributions were broad and complete. After he graduated from college in 1948 he returned to Ohio, married and worked at the Ohio Brass Company in Mansfield. He was recalled to active duty in 1952, serving in Washington D.C. for two years during the Korean War. In 1954, having served during two wars, Allen decided to continue in the Navy Reserves and by 1960 was the Commanding Officer of the U.S. Navy CB (Construction Battalion) at the Mansfield Naval Reserve Center. He retired from Naval Service in that position as a Lieutenant Commander in 1961.

In 1958 Allen was assigned to the Ohio Brass Company plant in Barberton-Akron but he returned in 1972 to the parent OB facility in Mansfield and continued there until retiring in 1985. Allen then served as President of Mansfield Ferrous Castings, preserving jobs for many ex-Ohio Brass employees and finally, he worked for ten years as a Senior V.P with Mansfield Brass and Aluminum Corporation. He retired at age 70 in 1997. Employees of these companies, dating back to the late 1940s have a huge respect and speak often with deep fondness for Allen.

Along the way, family, friendships and music were always close at hand. Allen's various "dance bands" were created and received boisterous if not raucous support and "reviews". But it is worth noting that Allen's bands refused to accept any money for the hundreds of dances and parties at which they played; not a penny. He always said "We aren't that good. We are just that much fun, and besides, if people paid us we wouldn't be able to drink!"

Music was always at hand, but Allen devoted his entire life toward his family, friendships and in the Mansfield and Richland County communities.

His memberships and contributions are far too numerous to list, but a sampling would be Past President of Kiwanis, Rotary, Visiting Nurses and many other organizations. Most recently he cut back on some memberships but continued actively with his "Hermits Club" and unfortunately will miss their founders photo that was scheduled for the week after he passed.

Allen's "Sanford" family traces itself firmly to 1631 and even to the Mayflower and the family genealogy is well documented. His grandfather Henry Huggins Sanford brought the family to Mansfield in 1905 and they have been a fixture in Mansfield culture from that point onward. The family and Allen are active in the First Congregational Church of Mansfield and Allen taught Sunday School for many years and served on more committees than can be counted.

Allen is vocal and genuine about his patriotism. He taught American values to his children and spoke passionately of his devotion to the country, just as most children of the depression era do. As always, he used music to express his feelings and he delivered a genuine embrace of America's great patriotic songs.

Allen and his family were instrumental in fundraising for the First Congregational Church and for many organizations; especially noteworthy were the Mansfield Art Center, the Mansfield Symphony, and the Richland County Foundation, which his father helped found. There were many more.

Allen's parents Henry Bostwick Sanford of Erie, Pennsylvania and Irene Elizabeth McCanne of Nephi, Utah were both long time Mansfield residents and are buried here. He was the second son and his older brother Henry McCanne Sanford passed away in 2013 in California, and his brother's family was also very close to him.

Allen outlived three wonderful wives. Allen is survived by three children from his marriage in 1948 to Anabel Marie (Batty) Sanford of Williston, North Dakota: his daughter Linda Sanford Wirt of Minneapolis, Minnesota and by two sons David Allen Sanford and Alan Huggins Sanford both of Cincinnati, Ohio. One son, Robert Henry Sanford died young in 1957. Anabel passed away at age 34 in 1961. In this direct family, he also leaves eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.

In his second marriage in 1974 to Alice Clara (Brown Black) Sanford he leaves behind four loving stepsons: Reid Black, Jr; Christopher Black, Timothy Black and David Black, and their families. Alice was a highly regarded and active long time resident of Mansfield. She passed away in 1998 and was the widow of Reid Carpenter Black, Senior of Mansfield.

With his third marriage in 1999 to Dell "Boots" Armstrong (McMillen Robinson) Sanford, he leaves four stepchildren Wendy Robinson, Whitney Robinson, Kristie Blankenhorn and Amy Silins. Boots was first married to John David Robinson of Mansfield and she passed away in 2013.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday morning 27 May 2017 at the First Congregational Church of Mansfield, followed by a reception at the church. It will be a true celebration of a great life shared with us.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to "The First Congregational Church of Mansfield Music and Fine Arts Fund".

Arrangements completed by Neptune Society in affiliation with Okerwall Funeral Home.

Published in the News Journal on May 7, 2017
Last Modified 3 Jun 2017Created 11 Jun 2017 using Reunion for Macintosh