Jane Sanford

Sep 15, 2020
Jane Sanford

Belfast — Jane Sanford lived to the ripe old age of 88. She died Aug. 27, 2020.

Jane was born in Sherborne, Mass., Aug. 13, 1932. She was the fourth child of Christine Sanford and first child of Nevitt Sanford, psychologist and professor at University of California Berkeley and founder of the Wright Institute. He taught and researched at the Tavistock Institute in London.

Jane attended The Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, Calif.

As a child Jane loved to ride horses and build forts. She would ride her horse, Scorch, for hours through the hills of Berkeley.

She attended Antioch College, then married Bob Derecktor, boatyard owner and builder in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The newlyweds lived on a tugboat named The X-ray. They had six children. After the birth of their third child they moved to Parsonage Point on Long Island Sound in Rye, N.Y.

In between raising her children, Jane taught weaving at Manhattanville College. She wove many beautiful rugs on her two looms that took up most of her bedroom in the house.

During this time she began her lifelong passion as a political activist. She protested the Vietnam War and was visited by the FBI after writing a letter to Lyndon Johnson telling him he should experience what it would be like if he was torched by napalm. The FBI determined that she was a caring mother who wanted the war to end, especially since she had three sons.

After the four oldest children were grown, Jane moved to Waldoboro with her two youngest daughters, who were teenagers.

She purchased property along the river and with the help of her children and friends, she built the first of several off-the-grid cabins that included root cellars, outhouses, wood stoves and kerosene lamps for lighting. She built her last cabin on 40 acres in Belfast when she was 80 years old.

During her residence in Waldoboro she received her massage license from The Downeast School of Massage, opened a health food cafe that had a hot tub, book store, art gallery, art and dance studio, always with original art from local artisans and her own creative children.

Jane would ride her horse into town to do errands and manage the store. Her ambition to revitalize the town and her strong community presence moved town officials to name a road in her honor — the Jane Sanford Road.

After her years spent in Waldoboro, Jane purchased a 200-acre farm and apple orchard in Solon. There she grew a large vegetable garden, spent time in her tepee, renovated her farmhouse and barns. She bought two Percheron horses to pull a sleigh where she piled the lumber she cut from her land to heat her home.

Several years later Jane moved to Belfast, where she settled for the last 30 years of her life.

Jane loved Belfast. She cared for both her parents during this time until their deaths.

Jane did whatever she could to improve the community. She redesigned her large home and rented rooms and apartments to friends and people in the area who needed an affordable place to live.

Her home in Belfast became the base camp for planning political activities.

She helped organize New Year’s By the Bay — an event that continues to this day. She worked on “saving the bay,” organized events for Girls to Girls, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, the Game Loft, and many events and programs that ranged from political campaigns to the “Raging Grannies.” The Raging Grannies were a group of friends and fellow activists — grandmothers — who wrote and sang protest songs at events from the Common Ground Fair to peace and justice events in various parts of Maine.

In between her political activism and community work, she found time to attend school events and shows of all her family members from Maine to New York and always supported many theatrical, artistic and musical endeavors in any way she could.

Jane traveled by bus to visit her children and grandchildren in Rhode Island and New York — Jane was always there for her family, friends, and neighbors.

After her first stroke, Jane lived for two and a half years with her daughter Deb between California and Maine, visiting family on both coasts and having many unexpected new adventures. These included attending rallies in San Francisco with her West Coast grandkids who once lived with her in her house in Belfast, remembering many fond childhood years at Stinson Beach with her brothers and sisters, visiting Florida and the two Derecktor boatyards for the very first time in her life.

Even with her frailties increasing in her late 80s, Jane was still strong enough to dig a hole in the garden to plant a tree, move deeply embedded and very heavy cement blocks (12, to be exact) from one side of the driveway to the other, carry literally anything of any weight. "What can I carry?" was a phrase often heard from Jane. Jane was also very generous to those in need and would help anyone in any way she could, making soup for sick friends, being there to help when someone's life was near the end, offering financial support and labor whenever she could to contribute. She supported many causes and was awarded for her good works in the political field.

During the last few years that Deb cared for Jane, she also lovingly salvaged and renovated Jane's house to become the Jane Sanford House, which will be a place to remember all the good work and friendships Jane developed over her 43 years in Maine and 30 years in Belfast.

There will be a park bench in Jane's name, hopefully next to close friend Linda Best, who passed away only two months before Jane. Jane and Linda took many walks, visited many friends and played many games of rummy over the years together.

Jane is survived by her children, Barbara, Paul, Tom, Deb and Lizzy. Her son Bobby predeceased her. Her grandchildren include Adam, Jaeke, Izabelle, Eliza, Riley, Lily, Erik, Sarah, Margo and Emily, Tom and Natalie; and great-grandchildren Bowen, Mark, Frank, Katherine Jane, Aria and Ellie — and she leaves numerous extended family and friends.

She is also survived by older sister Margaret, younger brother Michael and youngest brother Mark.

Jane gave and received much goodness and will always be lovingly remembered.

If anyone would like to contact Jane's daughter for more information about Jane's memorial service in Belfast and Jane's bench in the park, contact Deb at dderecktor4848@gmail.com.

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