BIG SANDY Grace Georges Petronilla (Diacon) Sanford, 71, long-time resident of the Missouri River Breaks on the Sanford Farm, died Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007, in Great Falls due to natural causes.
Her funeral Mass service will be held at 10 a. m. Saturday in Saint Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Big Sandy with burial following at 2 p.m. in the Alice Nash Memorial Cemetery on the Lone Tree Bench. Rosary and vigil services will begin today at 7 p.m. in St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church. Grace was born Aug. 10, 1935, north of Loma to Walter and Lois (McHoes) Diacon. She was raised in the area and graduated from Big Sandy High School in 1953. Grace married Elling Ron Haaland on Aug. 28, 1954, and they later divorced. She married Tim Haley Sanford on Dec. 21, 1975, at Larry Diacon’s farm near Loma. Grace graduated from Northern Montana College with a degree in rural elementary education in 1958 and in 1985 with a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education and a minor in social studies. A few of her many jobs included teaching elementary education at six different schools, selling cream and milk from 30 milk cows. She owned and operated the McClelland (Stafford) Ferry for the last 13 years. Her memorable accomplishments included winning first place in the Chouteau County 4-H Beef Judging as a teenager, artificially inseminating her milk cows and being the International Flying Farmers’ Queen in 1981. Grace was a member of the St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church Alter Society, Big Sandy PTA, Rebecca Lodge in Big Sandy, Eagle’s Auxiliary in Havre, International Flying Farmers and 4-H. Her hobbies included gardening, crocheting, knitting, sewing and playing 14 instruments, including the piano, accordion, violin, cello, ukulele and mandolin. Grace was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Linnette Diacon; and half-brother, Earl Diacon. Survivors include her husband, Tim Sanford of Lloyd; sons, Justin (Renee) Haaland of Butte and Donald “Jake” Haaland of Albany, Ore.; daughters, Jeanne Haaland of Loma, Theanna (Ted) Kalivas of Green River, Wyo., Virginia (Jon) Sanders of Temple, Texas, and Susan (Sean) Allen of Lloyd; sister, Doris McDunn of Great Falls; brothers, Leroy Diacon of Great Falls and Larry Diacon of north of Loma; half-sister, Dorothy Marnin of Belgrade; six grandchildren; and three greatgrandchildren. Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.