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May 3, 2014

Willis E. 'Bill' Sanford

Willis E. 'Bill' Sanford

HALCOTTSVILLE — Willis E. “Bill” Sanford, 95, resident of Halcottsville, died at his residence Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Bill was born on a farm in Bragg Hollow but grew up in Halcottsville in a general store operated by his family.

Bill was born Feb. 11, 1919, the son of Scott and Vera (Rosa) Sanford.

He married Dorothy Bodah in 1950, in Arkville, she died in 1989.

In his youth, he worked in the general store, harvested ice from the pond, delivered cauliflower and fished, hunted and trapped in the Catskill Mountains.

He joined the Army in World War II, and served as an MP in Panama. He also served during the Korean War. He was very proud of his service and for the past 20 years has traveled to different cities for a reunion of the 772nd MP Battalion. After Korea, Bill lived in Worcester, Mass., with his wife, Dorothy and three children.

He worked as a carpenter and had hobbies of pistol shooting and astronomy.

When he retired, he returned to his beloved Catskills, to the house he had grown up in. Bill was a member of the Halcottsville Fire Department for 46 years, and the

Middletown Historical Society, past president of the Halcottsville Cemetery Association, and a key player in modernizing Halcottsville’s water supply. He was the water clerk and maintained the water system until he was 82 years of age.

Bill was member of the Middletown American Legion Post 216. Bill was an amateur historian and genealogist, he hunted for fossils and arrow heads, collected coins and enjoyed square dancing. He loved animals, especially his dogs, who he would take for long walks in the woods. He was also an avid reader, with tastes ranging from history, archeology and geology to wildlife and native plants. He loved a good western or mystery.

In his retirement, Bill did a lot of traveling to places like Alaska, the Yucatan, England and all over the American and Canadian West. His favorite trip was to Manitoba, Canada, to view the polar bears.

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