Mary Rose Sanford (Molly) of Roxboro, N.C., died at Duke University Hospital, April 22, 2012, after a brief illness, with her son, John Sanford Friedrich, and John’s father, Mark, at her side. She was 63.  Molly was born in Olean in 1948 to John W. and Rose Leary Sanford, both deceased, and is survived by her son, John Sanford Friedrich, of Greensboro, N.C., and her sister, Karen Rose Sanford of South Portland, Maine. She leaves a niece and nephew and a grand-niece and grand-nephew in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and an aunt and uncle and cousins in Vermont.  The early part of her life was spent in western New York state where she graduated, salutatorian, from Wellsville High School in 1966. Her father, John Sanford, was editor of the Wellsville Daily Reporter during her time in Wellsville.  Molly did undergraduate work at New College, Sarasota, Fla., and UNC-Chapel Hill, and received a Master in Anthropology degree at the University of Rochester. Molly worked as a newspaper journalist, a book editor, a poet and as a public-relations specialist at Duke University.  Molly was eloquent with words, both written and spoken, was a constant reader, a great gardener/farmer and cook, and was deeply loved by a wide circle of friends and family who appreciated her laughter, her tremendous wit and sharp intelligence, her unique observations, and her astounding, detailed memory of people and events, and of the daily frolicking of her beloved cats.  She loved to give gifts and tell funny stories, but above all, the greatest joy of her life has been her son, John, who to her delight, has just earned his Master of Library Science degree, is politically active, and writes for several small newspapers in the Greensboro, N.C. area.

The following piece was written by Molly Sanford and published in “The Carleton Miscellany,” 1970.


One of my ancestors was a Mayflower pilgrim who was the only pilgrim who ever fell off the Mayflower and that is the absolute truth. He fell off because he wouldn’t listen to the captain who told all the pilgrims to stay in the cabin because there was a storm. But he went out on the deck, and God knows I understand why: I love storms too, and I don’t imagine a crowd of pilgrims was too much fun. Anyway he was washed overboard, but they saved him with ropes and prayers. Mostly ropes. So he lived and when they crashed on Plymouth Rock and decided to live there, he became a member of the Pilgrim Board of Supervisors, or whatever they called it. He married one Elizabeth Tillery, which sounds rather good, at least a lot better than an Abagail or Mercy. And his house is still standing. Ladies dressed like pilgrim ladies take people through and when we went, we got a private tour, and the ladies told my sister and me that we were eligible to join the D.A.R. Which is something we have not done.