J. Dwight Sanderford

J. Dwight Sanderford

December 5, 1937 – September 3, 2020

Julian Dwight Sanderford, 82, of Wendell, North Carolina, died Thursday, September 3, 2020, at his home.

Graveside Funeral Service will be at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, September 12, 2020, at Greenmount Cemetery in Wendell. He will lie in repose from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Friday, September 11, 2020 at Strickland Funeral Home & Crematory, 211 W. Third Street, Wendell, North Carolina. www.striklandfuneral.com

A native of Wendell, Dwight was born December 5, 1937, the son of Callie Mae Whitley and David Clarence Sanderford. After graduation from Wendell High School in 1956, Dwight entered the United States Air Force serving at Edwards Air Force Base, California, NATO/Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Following his military service, he entered Atlantic Christian College in Wilson earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in religion and a Master of Science in psychology at North Carolina State University.

Dwight began his career with the North Carolina Department of Correction as a psychologist at the Central Prison Mental Health Center and then served as the Superintendent of Central Youth Center in Raleigh, Harnett Youth Center in Lillington, Director of Youth Services Command and Assistant Director of Prisons. He completed his career as manager of the emergency prison construction program in the Office of State Budget retiring in 1996. Dwight was a two-time recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor.

He was active in many civic organizations particularly the Wendell Jaycees, Lillington Jaycees and was instrumental in organizing a Jaycee chapter at Harnett Youth Center. He was awarded lifetime membership in all three chapters and was a recipient of the North Carolina Jaycees George Randall Memorial Award. Dwight was also a member of the Wendell Lions Club and a Jack Stickley Fellow.

Dwight remained close with members of the Wendell High School Class of 1956 and enjoyed monthly breakfasts and gatherings with this special group. Some of his passions included breeding and training AKC beagles at his beloved Lake Glad Beagles, hunting, growing prize winning roses, Cornish game and waterfowl and coaching youth athletics in Wendell. He was an avid NASCAR and N.C. State Wolfpack fan.

On August 9, 1958, Dwight married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Eldora Allen Jones of Wendell. They enjoyed traveling together throughout the United States, Scotland, England, and Europe but their greatest joy was simply spending time at the family home place which they referred to as their own little piece of heaven. Eldora pre-deceased Dwight on March 4, 2015, as did his infant daughter in 1969. He was also predeceased by his brothers, Starling, Curtis and Lloyd Sanderford; sisters, Eleanor Phipps, Evelyn Hodge and Callie Joe Johnson Tant.

Dwight is survived by his son, David Scott Sanderford; sisters, Fay Jones and her husband Dick, Kay Gresham; step-brother, Aaron Johnson, all of Wendell; Eldora’s special cousin, Linda Allard Fisher of Charleston, West Virginia and many loving nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, 1924 Capital Blvd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27604 www.foodbankcenc.org
or to the SPCA of Wake County, 200 Petfinder Lane, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603 www.spcawake.org


  • Kathleen Murphy Posted September 5, 2020 12:51 pm

    His commitment to public service is so impressive. What an honor to have been able to be a small part of his life and we are so humbled by the time and attention he devoted to his loving family. It’s not often that a true renaissance man is our midst but Uncle Dwight represents that kind of man – intellectual, interesting, friendly, social and so very invested in all he does. We will miss him dearly.

  • James and Elaine Price Posted September 5, 2020 2:03 pm

    Dwight was a special friend and traveling companion to many American bantam chicken shows in the late 80s and early 90s. He will be truly missed

    • Scott Sanderford Posted September 7, 2020 9:31 am

      Thank y’all so much.

  • Joyce Baker Harris Posted September 5, 2020 4:22 pm

    My deepest sympathies to you and family.

  • Nancy Phipps Posted September 5, 2020 7:54 pm

    Our deepest condolances to the family. Nancy Phipps (daughter of Ray and Lavonda Phipps)

  • Jeff Barbour Posted September 6, 2020 7:55 am

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. Please know Joan and I have you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
    Jeff Barbour
    Gastonia, NC

  • Robert and Pam Earp Posted September 6, 2020 1:12 pm

    I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your dad. He is resting peacefully in Heaven with God, the love of his life and their baby girl. He isn’t suffering or hurting anymore.
    I will continue to pray for you.

    • Scott Sanderford Posted September 7, 2020 9:32 am

      Thank you for your kindness and beautiful wishes.

  • Michelle Callahan Posted September 8, 2020 1:14 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time..

  • Sylvia Madison Posted September 8, 2020 10:06 pm

    So sorry to hear of Mr. Sanderford’s passing. I will miss my neighbor. Prayers for peace and comfort to Scott and the rest of the family during this difficult time.

  • Bob Graves Posted September 9, 2020 8:07 pm

    Special thoughts and prayers. Lots I did not know about your Dad…but just learned he had AKC Beagles…My Dad had a kennel also. Such and honorable man. I know you will miss him! (Hugs)

  • Donna Wheeler Posted September 10, 2020 9:56 am

    Scott, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May God give you strength and peace in the days ahead.

  • Don and Trillis Batten Posted September 10, 2020 2:37 pm

    Scott, You have been in our thoughts and prayers during the past days. What a beautifully-written obituary and what a legacy Dwight left! Surely you were blessed with two very special parents who meant so much to so many. May God bless you now as you cherish your memories which are surely now your treasures.

  • John Paul Womble Posted September 11, 2020 10:44 am

    Scott: You continue to be in m thoughts and prayers. You have cared so much for you Dad – and your Mother – I can only imagine how much you will miss them. A great son
    who was clearly raised right. May you continue to be enfolded in love and comfort. Yours, JP

  • Rhonda Barham Edwards Posted September 11, 2020 3:20 pm

    Condolences to you and your family, Scott.

  • Cindy Burchette Evans Posted September 11, 2020 4:41 pm

    Scott, so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. He was an inspiration to many! My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. Sending you a virtual hug! Always, Cindy Burchette Evans

  • Cary Cannady Posted September 11, 2020 5:53 pm

    So sorry about the death of your dad. Please know that Grayson and I are remembering you during this time. I am glad to have been introduced to him several times.

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