July 12, 1940 – July 27, 2020 (age 80)
Brent Jay Sanford passed away at his home, after a long struggle with lung disease, on the morning of Monday, July 27, 2020, just two weeks after his 80th birthday.
Known variously as Brent, Dad, Spank and Papoo, Brent was born July 12, 1940, in Brigham City, Utah, to Allen (Jay) and Vaudis Korth Sanford.
Raised in a small house on 600 East near the old mill in Brigham City, and an avid outdoorsman from a young age, Brent grew up hunting and fishing with his dad and younger brother, Robert.
Having a carpenter for a father to whom he was apprenticed, Brent was always very handy and became a skilled carpenter himself.
A graduate of Box Elder High School, he was a star basketball and football player. After high school he attended Utah State University in Logan where he played football and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
After a couple of years, he took a break to serve in the French East Mission in Switzerland for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he gained a love for, and mastery of, the French language. Another thing that came out of those two years abroad was his beautiful penmanship, something that set him apart and he was complimented on for the rest of his life.
Upon returning from his mission, he again enrolled at USU, where he met, and later married, his wife of nearly 54 years, Barbara Hughes Sanford. He then transferred to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and earned dual degrees in business administration and French language studies. Looking to use both of these degrees and his international experience, he was accepted to Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona.
With a Master of Foreign Trade degree from that world-renowned institution he could basically write his ticket to a career in international business. And that’s what he did. He entertained seven job offers, and accepted a job with Armco Steel in Middletown, Ohio, that promised to move him overseas within a year.
After the birth of their first child, Jason, Brent was transferred to the Benelux Division of Armco International in Brussels, Belgium, and moved his young family there for five and a half years. Near the end of that stint, their second son, Jared, was born and they moved back to the U.S. in 1975.
After working again in Middletown for a few years and literally traveling the world on business, he was transferred again, this time to Mexico City, Mexico, where he headed up Armco’s Mexico City operation and mastered Spanish.
Once back in the states in the mid 80’s, he was offered the opportunity to buy out the International Division of Armco with a dozen colleagues and started the Cumberland Group, a consulting firm specializing in team building and quality process management for clients ranging from the U.S. Air Force and NASA to defense contractors such as General Dynamics and Pratt Whitney.
Once that gig had run its course and both kids were out of high school, Brent and Barb decided to pull up stakes from Ohio and returned to their home and their aging parents in Utah where Brent got back to his roots as a carpenter and began a second career as a custom home builder in Park City, Utah.
His attention to detail and insistence on the highest quality of workmanship, along with just being a genuinely down to earth, nice, and honest guy, earned him both a devoted crew of contractors and a loyal following of clients who appreciated his meticulousness. He built his last house in the early 2000’s and then switched gears doing smaller projects and custom remodels until his retirement in 2010.
From 2005 until his death, Brent also brought his home building expertise to the table as a member of the architectural committee for his neighborhood of Sun Peak in Park City and had a huge impact on how the neighborhood looks today.
Brent enjoyed traveling and spent two weeks every spring at their timeshare condo on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he had the opportunity to brush up on his Spanish and indulge in his love of Mexican food and culture. Brent and Barb also owned a vacation home in St. George, Utah, where they spent several weeks each year and he enjoyed golf and touring Utah’s many spectacular National Parks.
In his later years, he could be found tinkering with projects around the house, herding their cats and spoiling their three grandchildren, Chloe, Brennon and Vivienne.
Brent will be remembered as a model of wisdom, warmth, patience, compassion, generosity and strength. He was also a very funny man, with a dry sense of humor and a seemingly endless supply of witticisms and thoughtful and amusing observations on people and life. He gave his time freely, from simple sage advice, to helping out neighbors with projects to volunteering for and donating to charitable organizations inside and outside of the Park City community.
He was a devoted husband, chivalrous and dedicated to his life partner, Barbara, even to the very end when his frustration at his failing body’s inability to perform even the most basic tasks, such as fixing her a meal, resulted in distress. As a father he was stern, yet fair and loving. As a grandfather he was a total pushover for his sweet grandkids. The hole in our hearts is a giant one, yet we are finding peace in the knowledge that he is no longer suffering.