By Emily J. Minor
BRINY BREEZES — Marguerite Sanford, who began coming to Briny Breezes with her mother back in 1954 and was considered somewhat of a matriarch in Briny’s graying neighborhood family, died Oct. 27 during a visit to her daughter’s home in Tennessee. She was 101.
Mrs. Sanford’s daughter, Anita Coe, said her mother had been in a rehab center for a non-life threatening injury, and developed complications. The middle of three children, and the only girl, Mrs. Sanford was born June 20, 1910, in Fort Smith, Ark., and quickly developed a love for the arts — despite her rural upbringing.
“She was very active in music and played the piano,” said her daughter. “She also sang light opera around Memphis — where they wore the costumes and everything.”
A 1929 graduate of St. Agnes Academy, Mrs. Sanford later attended nursing school at Saint Thomas Hospital in Memphis. In 1938, she married Dr. James Eddy Coe, a family doctor, and she gave up nursing to stay home with the children.
Coe’s brother, James Eddy Coe Jr., of Trinity, Texas, also survives her, along with four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Dr. Coe died in 1969, and by this time Mrs. Sanford was already making the trip south to Briny Breezes each year, their Spartan travel trailer in tow. At one time, Mrs. Sanford had said her mother had bought 23 Briny shares in 1958, and that she’d paid about $2,500.
In 1974, she married George Sanford, also a Briny resident, and the couple shared many interests — including traveling, square dancing and a little something called “round dancing,”said Anita Coe.
Round dancing is like ballroom dancing, except with a caller, and each summer the Sanfords would go to an annual round-dancing convention in Kentucky, Coe said.
Her mother, she said, also loved quilting, needlepoint and smocking, and she was a heck of a shuffleboard player. Mr. Sanford died in 1991.
Through the years, Briny residents embraced Mrs. Sanford as their very own mother figure, if you will, even orchestrating a detailed, yet beautifully simple, meal-delivery system that almost always meant Mrs. Sanford had a healthy dinner, every night, with plenty left over for lunch the next day, Coe said.
“They always say you live longer if you’re happy,” Coe said, “and we have attributed the greater part of mama’s living longer to the people in Briny.”
Briny Breezes Mayor Roger Bennett said he used to love it when the phone would ring and it would be Mrs. Sanford, informing him she “needed a man” to help with something.
“I’d go over there and check out her floor, or whatever, and then I’d open a bottle of wine for her,” Bennett said.
Neighbor Edith Lougheed said she and her husband, Jack, loved it when Mrs. Sanford felt well enough to fling open her door and join them in the evenings for a Briny sunset.
“She had an excellent sense of humor and always entertained us,” she said. “We were always so happy to see her.”
Funeral services were held Nov. 4 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bartlet, Tenn.