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By The Mercury

Helen Louise Crenshaw Sanford, 95, died at home surrounded by loving family and friends on March 13.

She is survived by daughters Paula (Ron) Schubert-Laplant of Exuma, The Bahamas; Pat (Wayne) Banning of Scott Depot, W.Va.; Carolyn (Roger) Elmore of Wichita; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; brothers, George (June) Crenshaw of Wabaunsee; Eldon (Sherrel) Crenshaw of Ottawa; and a large extended family.  Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Paul E. Sanford.

Helen was born in a frame house on a farm in Harper County on Oct. 29, 1918. She was the daughter of Archibald F. Crenshaw and Christina Nafziger. She attended a rural school for eight years and she was the only student in her class the entire time. When she completed eighth grade, her parents, three brothers and three sisters, moved to their farm near Attica.  She graduated from Attica High School in 1936.

Helen earned a teaching certificate from Kansas State Teachers’ College in Emporia.  The first year she taught she had fourteen students, with a student in each of the eight grades.

She was an ardent 4-H Club member completing projects in livestock, clothing, foods, food preservation, wood working, and junior leadership.  Throughout her life, Helen participated in numerous 4-H activities at the local, state and national levels.

In 1942 she married Paul Sanford, while she was serving in the U.S. Army.  After they were both honorably discharged in 1946, they were finally able to live together when they moved to Ames, Iowa, to further Paul’s education.

After Paul earned a Ph.D. from Iowa State they moved to Manhattan with daughter Paula.  Two more daughters, Patricia and Carolyn, were born in Manhattan.

Helen was always active in the First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.  She provided plants and cut flower arrangements for many church functions.  Her community activities included 30 years of leadership in the community gardens, the Federation for Handicapped Citizens, and 4-H leader in foods and clothing.  She was often seen and heard at city commission meetings. 

Helen’s love of sports caused her to be a supporter of the women’s basketball team at K-State.  She always cheered them on, regardless of the season’s outcome.  As the team achieved national recognition, Helen proudly bragged about “her” LadyCats.  She continued to support them even after it became difficult to attend games.

She moved to Wichita in 2002 to live with daughter Carolyn and family, where she resided until her death.

A memorial service will be held at a later date, at an appropriate time during the gardening season, as Helen has bequeathed her body to the KU Medical Center.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 801 Leavenworth St., Manhattan, KS 66502; the Kansas 4-H Foundation, 116 Umberger Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506; or Harden Hospice Kansas, 2622 W. Central Ave, Suite 501, Wichita, KS 67203.

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