In loving memory ~
We are heartbroken to announce the unexpected passing of our beloved Rich at age 55. This extraordinary, calm, unassuming soul was born on September 16, 1968, in Toronto, Ontario to Joan and Bill Sanford. He was the youngest child and brother to Jamie, Rob and Bill.
When Rich was young the family relocated West to Deep Cove on the Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, where he spent his youth enjoying the wonderful mountain and ocean adventures the area had to offer. Athletics were a big part of his family's life, and Rich excelled in hockey, swimming, golf, skiing, skateboarding and mountain biking. In his early years of high school, the family moved back to Georgetown, Ontario. However, Rich longed to return to the West Coast as soon as he could, at age 18 he moved back to the coast to Whistler, B.C.
When Rich arrived on the Whistler scene he was given the nickname "Young Rich" and his first dual Mtn. pass was the much less expensive youth pass. In Whistler Rich continued to mountain bike, but ever the adventurer he soon took up rock and ice climbing, backcountry skiing and snowmobiling. He is credited with some first ice climbing assents as well as first ski descents. He worked briefly as a dishwasher a pasta guy, then as a landscaper, and lastly as a hook tender heli-logging. Although the job was dangerous and demanding he loved it. Heli-logging gave him the opportunity to fly in helicopters all over the Coast Mountain Range and see terrain few people will ever see. The added bonus for Rich was being paid to be challenged by nature on steep mountain sides, while exposed to ever-present dangers with glorious views. Whistler was also where Rich met his soul mate, Brenda Schwab and on September 7, 1996 they were married. After marriage, they spent their winters skiing in Rossland and Fernie, B.C., as well as Chamonix, France. They enjoyed their summers in the mountains near Mt Currie at Lillooet Lake, and in Tofino near the ocean, in the chicken coop on the Barr property.
Rich was a devoted and proud father to his sons Jack, born in Fernie, B.C and Freddy, born in Vancouver, B.C. The young Sanford family settled permanently in the incredible community of Tofino and Rich became Brenda's partner in the landscaping business. Rich worked hard and enjoyed it, but he had always chosen his career to fit his recreating lifestyle. His passion and priority in life was spending time in the outdoors. Richie found joy and contentment camping, golfing, surfing, fishing, skiing, and rides on his side X side with close friends and family. Rich was very fortunate to have adventured on many surf trips accompanied with friends or family to Ireland, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico and the Azores.
In recent years, the family started snowmobiling and Rich was thrilled to be regularly back up in the mountains again with all his family, close friends and their families, The Tofino Snow Angels.
The mountains were Rich's happy place. In the alpine he found solitude and peace and now, may he rest there.
"You won't know till yah go"
Richard Sanford , "Caw caw"
Rich is forever in our hearts and words cannot truly express how he will be missed.
Brenda Jack and Fred wish to thank the incredible support and compassion shown to them from their extended family, friends and communities.
A celebration of Richie's life will be held at The Shore Pier, 368 Main St., Tofino, B.C. www.shorepier.com on Sunday, April 30 at 1 pm. The family welcomes everyone to bring your happy memories and special stories about Rich and join them in celebrating the person that he was.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Kid Sport, kidsportcanada.ca So no kid is left watching from the sidelines.