April 6, 1959 - January 15, 2022
David Roy Sanford
April 6, 1959-January 15, 2022
David Roy Sanford was born on April 6, 1959 to Roy and Venetta Sanford in Seattle, Washington. Venetta dedicated her tiny son to God and asked Him to bless David’s life. God truly answered this young mother’s prayer.
David spent the first few years of his life living in Briar, Washington. A brother, Daniel, joined the family 15 months later, and a sister, Angela, was born when David was almost three years old. In 1965, the family moved to the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where Roy worked rebuilding communication towers after the tsunami. David loved recalling a boy’s paradise living on Island Lake, exploring the woods and beach, skating on the ice, building igloos and fishing from salmon swollen streams. Littlest sister Christine was born on Kodiak when David was 9 years old.
One Sunday, David tagged along with a friend to Kodiak Bible Chapel and responded to the story of Jesus and the invitation to trust him for salvation. David’s siblings, grandparents, and mother later came to faith in Jesus too.
David struggled at the new school and finally learned to read in the third grade with a teacher who taught him to love learning…and to sit in his seat. He later found his love of writing at Lockwood Elementary when he wrote his first “encyclopedia.” His passion for journalism was sparked, and he dreamed of someday writing for the Seattle Times.
The family moved back to the north end of Lake Washington (Kenmore, Washington) in 1969 into a home built by his grandfather. David cherished living right down the drive from his maternal grandparents. These years were filled with exploring, neighborhood baseball games, ingenious money raising efforts with his brother, and making up his own bike tricks. David and his family loved the outdoors, including a family hike on Mt. St. Helens (before 1980) and mountain climbing and backpacking with his dad and brother.
David and his mother and siblings began attending Alderwood Manor Community Church in Lynnwood, Washington. At age 13, David committed his life fully to Jesus Christ and made a lifelong commitment to trust and serve God. As a young teenager, he enjoyed being part of the youth group and the Bible Quiz Team, including competing at a national level. He loved children and served as an Awana leader and helped in Vacation Bible School. During the summers, he participated in evangelistic youth trips to small towns throughout the Northwest. Most of all, he read Scripture voraciously. His passion for the Word of God continued throughout his life.
David attended Inglemoor High School, shining in the journalism department and serving as the editor of The Nordic News. He attended Shoreline Community College for two years before he realized his dream of studying at Multnomah Bible College (now Multnomah University) in Portland, Oregon, in the fall of 1979. David thrived on learning and building significant relationships with professors and students alike. During this time, David set his sights on serving in the ministry as a pastor instead of as a journalist. He served as the youth pastor intern for two summers at Alderwood Community Church. David graduated in May 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Education with a Communication emphasis, summa cum laude. He was a Baccalaureate speaker at the Class Day Chapel.
David met Renée Hord when she was 9 years old and he was 13 years old. Like other kids in the youth group, he sometimes babysat her and her three siblings. He reported he actually babysat the TV and the refrigerator while she took care of the kids. Four years later, Renée joined the Bible Quiz Team, and 18-year-old David took notice. David loved teasing Renée, and their friendship grew as David transitioned into the role of Bible Quiz Team Coach. He patiently waited for her to grow up, knowing she wasn’t allowed to date until she was 16 years old. That summer before her birthday, Renée realized she loved David and struggled with what to do with these feelings and David’s increasing attention. Before David left for Multnomah, he surprised Renée (and four friends) on her birthday with dinner and the rides at Seattle Center. She knew then he truly was interested, but no explanation came from David, who was trying to spare her a long-distance relationship. The two corresponded two to three times weekly while pretending to be just friends. On January 1, 1980, Renée finally shared a “prayer request” with David and told him she loved him. David replied, “I was praying that subject would come up.” When David asked Renée “how far do you see our relationship going?” she replied, “I can’t imagine my life without you.” The two dated long distance until Renée joined David at Multnomah during his last semester at Multnomah the fall of 1981. They were married on September 11, 1982.
David and Renée expected to wait a few years before starting a family, but God blessed them with their firstborn child, Elizabeth, in October 1983. Shawna was born in March 1986 and Jonathan in June 1988. David and Renée planned to foster or adopt children to add to their family. In 1996, two foster daughters, Jessica and Nicole, joined the family for eight months before returning to their mother’s care. These girls continued to see David as their “foster dad,” and he later performed both of their weddings. The Lord provided the joyous surprise (and miracle) of the birth of Benjamin in 1997. In 2002, David and Renée started a journey to adopt a daughter from foster care, and God answered their prayers in 2004 when four-year-old Anna came into their hearts and lives. David loved his children deeply. He loved playing games, telling stories, listening to their hearts, and cheering them on to their dreams. Of all his busy pursuits and accomplishments, being their dad was his highest privilege.
After finishing formal classwork in December 1981, David realized God could use his writing and journalism as ministry when he was offered a job as an editor for Multnomah Press until September 1982. In February 1983, David accepted a position with the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association as a Director of Communication. He worked closely with Luis Palau on over 500 books and articles (including translations into multiple languages). Throughout his 20 years on the Palau Team and after, David enjoyed a close relationship with Luis and considered him his spiritual father. During this time, David also served as an adjunct professor of Journalism at Corban University in Salem, Oregon (January 1995-December 2004).
In 2003, David started Sanford Communications, Inc. (with Renée) as owner, literary agent, consultant and editor. The deconstruction of the publishing industry and the economic downturn of 2008 resulted in bankruptcy and foreclosure, but God faithfully provided for David and the family. Credo Communications bought Sanford Communications, and David continued as an author and as a literary agent with Credo. David also continued to speak at Writer’s Conferences, teaching his “No Fear” strategy for publishing. David’s own book, If God Disappears, was published in 2008, joining other titles authored by him and with Renée, including the notes for The Living Faith Bible.
David worked as the Director of Institutional Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations at Corban University from April 2011 to July 2016. From 2017 to his retirement/disability in 2019, David focused on—in his words: “working with leaders in the busy intersection of public speaking, social networking, mass media, interviewing and book publishing.”
During the last two years of his life, God gave David an expanded writing ministry. David wrote extensively for Crosswalk.com and other online publications. He had hundreds of articles and several books published. Three new books, In God’s Image: Devotions for Men (Barbour), Journey through Joshua (Our Daily Bread), and The 3 Minute Bible Habit (Barbour) are available winter and spring of 2022.
David had a passion for people that showed itself in a desire to connect with and encourage others. David and Renée put their roots down deep at Laurel Park Bible Chapel, now Spring Mountain Bible Church. He served as a lay pastor/elder at Spring Mountain for many years and these people truly became “family.” David formed deep and loving friendships with people within and outside of the church family. He became a man of prayer and spent significant time daily lifting up others to God.
David had a heart for the world and, with Renée, visited international workers in South America, Africa, and Europe. He was a champion of others par excellence; he was happiest cheering others on to success. Both in his professional role, and even when he was disabled/retired, he coached, mentored and opened doors for writers and others.
David dealt with chronic pain most of his adult life, but he pushed through to work and pursue relationships. He was never hospitalized until 2014. After this, David experienced multiple hospitalizations and health challenges, but he also experienced several significant healings. After a fall in July 2021, his multiple conditions (primarily sarcoidosis) escalated into an all-out war on his body. He suffered more pain in the following six months than he had ever endured before.
David was blessed to spend time with each of his children and their families and his own parents in September and October 2021. David and Renée enjoyed a cruise to Alaska with her parents, Chuck and Chris, in September, celebrating Chuck and Chris’s 60th anniversary and the beginning of David and Renée’s 40th year of marriage. The Lord allowed other times with precious friends and family leading up to Christmas. David adored each of his 14 grandchildren and wrote to each one in the months before Christmas. He prayed for them, played games with them, and told them stories of his own childhood. He encouraged them to follow Jesus all their lives.
When David came home from the hospital on January 10, he knew his time was short. His three oldest children, Elizabeth, Shawna, and Jonathan, came to care for him. He was able to hear from each of his children and parents. On January 15, 2022, he passed away due to complications of Cardiac Sarcoidosis. He left his broken body and stepped into the presence of Jesus who surely said, “Well done, good and faithful son. Welcome Home.” He will be deeply missed.