Tragic accident claims Eagle man
December 20, 2003
Guys as good as Larry Sanford aren’t supposed to go.
He did, though, working at something he loved – not as much as his family, mind you – but loved.
Sanford, 36, of Eagle died Thursday evening when a classic American car he was restoring, a 1969 Chevelle, fell on him after one of the jack stands gave way.
Larry was a pretty good-sized guy, friends said, and leaves a big Larry-sized hole where the love used to be – and still is.
“To see what kind of person someone is, look at how their kids turned out,” said long-time friend Steve Wilson. “They have great kids, a wonderful family.”
Sanford is survived by wife Tammy; sons Steve, Garrett and Andrew; mother Maureen; sister Lisa, and brother Scott. He and Tammy had been together 16 years, friends said.
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“He had an amazing disposition and character,” said Steve Wilson, who hired Sanford two years ago to come to Eagle County from Ventura, Calif., to work for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.
“So many fathers are inactive,” said Wilson. “This guy was proud of his kids. They rode dirt bikes together, they camped, they fished, they did everything together.
“He taught them to work and be kind. He was just a great father.”
Steve Wilson also moved from Ventura to Eagle several years ago. He hired Sanford 11 years ago to work for the city of Ventura, where Wilson was helping run the city’s water department, then hired him to come to Colorado.
“Not once in the 11 years I knew him did I meet anyone who was angry at Larry or would say they didn’t like him,” said Wilson.
The 911 call came around 5:30 p.m. Public safety officials in Eagle were at the house in minutes, said Sgt. Gary Ward of the Eagle Police Department. The Eagle Fire Department’s truck was there in about six minutes, about one minute after the ambulance and police. The fire truck came rigged with enough gear to move the car, but the family had apparently already moved Sanford out from under it, said Ward.
Sanford was in his garage for nearly an hour that day working on the car, Ward said.
The incident officially was ruled an accident. It is, of course, more than that. It’s a tragedy, said Ward.
“He was a rare person,” said Diane Wilson, Steve’s wife. “The kind of boys he has is a testament to the kind of dad he was. Some kids get to a certain age and don’t want to be around their parents. That’s not true with them. They even went to the grocery story together.”
Sanford fell into Colorado like the state was his soulmate.
“He was a great guy, always positive, always jolly,” said friend and co-worker Danny Doig. “They came out for the job, and immediately fell into the lifestyle.”
They apparently also fell into the neighborhood in a big way. Diane Wilson said that in the last day and a half the outpouring of support and concern has been phenomenal.
“The middle school kids were raising money all last week, and today they decided to give it to the Sanfords,” she said “There has been support from all over the valley. People are sending condolences and bringing food. Some they don’t even know.”
There will be a viewing and gathering Monday afternoon and evening at Farnum-Holt Funeral Home in Glenwood Springs. A memorial service is planned for after Christmas.