Albert Sanborn III Obituary

Albert Fellows Sanborn III
Albert Fellows Sanborn III

May 25, 1930 - January 22, 2020
Born in Brooklyn, New York
Resided in Locust Grove, Virginia


Albert Fellows Sanborn III, of Locust Grove, Virginia, died on January 22, 2020 after a brief illness. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Love, humility, and humor were values that he upheld throughout his life.

Al was born May 25, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York, to his parents Albert Fellows Sanborn, Jr and Dorothy Hine Sanborn. Al was predeceased by his first wife Gloria Sanborn, with whom he enjoyed 47 years of blissful marriage until her death in 2003. He is survived by his wife, Janet Sanborn, of Locust Grove, Virginia; his children, Albert Fellows Sanborn IV (Bret) of Diamond Point, New York; Patricia Sanborn of McLean, Virginia; Ted Sanborn and his wife Sheree of Darien, Connecticut, and their daughters, Kristen Sanborn and Amy Sanborn, who both reside in Rhode Island; as well as his cousin Janet Swanson of Fremont, New Hampshire and many other relatives and friends who remember him fondly.

He loved his family, pets, music, nature, history, and genealogy. His collection of Big Band, Classical and Broadway filled the family’s home on weekends. His children have fond memories of Al’s presence at their swim meets, soccer games, and band concerts. Family vacations and outings with children and grandchildren were often very outdoor-oriented at the beach or lakes. Al’s other favorite pastimes included playing bridge, golfing, and bowling. He continued participating in bowling leagues until a month before his passing, using a custom fit 16-pound ball that his father had given him when he was 17.

Al earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech. He subsequently joined the Army Corp of Engineers as a Lieutenant and served during the Korean War from 1952-1954. He began his service at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and then was deployed to build military runways at Osan Air Base in South Korea, which became a critical base for the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing.

Following his military service Al earned a Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Purdue University. It was there that he met his wife, Gloria Mae Rosky of Queens, New York, who was also a graduate student.

As a Civil Engineer in civilian life, Al was responsible for evaluating, designing, and constructing infrastructure projects, such as highways, airport runways, and dams. Al’s work required extensive knowledge about mapping, soils, and geology. His interest in these areas led to some good-natured family ribbing for his habit of taking a lot of pictures of soils and rocks and bringing home rocks and core samples.

One notable project was the Fox Point Barrier gates in Rhode Island, built in the early 1960s. The gates have been raised multiple times to protect the city of Providence - most recently during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. Al published numerous documents regarding his projects including a description of his experience as one of the first engineers to use Dynamic Non-Destructive testing of existing pavement on a full-scale basis. This method resulted in more and better data than the conventional destructive testing.

Al’s last project was the improvement of roads at Fort Belvoir as part of the Federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) policy - bringing Al back to the place where he had started his engineering career.

Following his retirement in the early 1990s, Al and Gloria moved to the Lake of the Woods (LOW) Community in Locust Grove, Virginia, where they were both active in the community. Al served on the LOW Association Board for Directors from September 2000 to September 2003, including one year as President, one as Vice President, and one as Secretary. He also served in other volunteer roles in the community, including at his beloved Lake of the Woods Church, and at the nearby Chancellorsville and Wilderness battlefield parks.

Al married Janet Emblidge in 2009. They enjoyed life and cared for each other until his passing. Al was warmly embraced by Janet’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and enjoyed spending time with them on various special occasions.

A memorial service will be held at the Lake of the Woods Church in Locust Grove, Virginia, at 10:00am on Friday, February 14th, followed by a private burial. In lieu of flowers, donations can be contributed in Al’s name to the Lake of the Woods Church Living Water Community Clinic.




Memorial Service
The Lake of the Woods Church
One Church Lane
Locust Grove, VA US 22508
Friday, February 14, 2020
10:00 AM

31440 Constitution Highway | Locust Grove, Virginia 22508
Ph. (540) 854-5100 or (540) 972-4500 | F. (540) 854-0860 |
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