Dr. Jon A. Sanborn, 78, of Savannah, Georgia passed away unexpectedly on Friday, March 19th, 2021. Born in Palmetto, Florida to Lowell “Toby” and Lena (DiGrano) Sanborn, he was the middle son of three children. He grew up in Sunderland, Massachusetts and raised his own family in nearby Florence, Massachusetts before “retiring” to Savannah in 2007. With boundless compassion and empathy, he was a loving son, brother, husband, father, uncle, and a loyal friend to many.
He is survived by his beloved wife JoAnn of over 52 years and their two children, Charity Bennett and her partner Jason Leslie of Brunswick, Georgia and Lt. Col. Marc Sanborn and his wife Lt. Col. Kathryn Purchase Sanborn, presently assigned to the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He is also survived by his older sister Carol Zewinski of Turners Falls, Massachusetts and younger brother Thomas Sanborn of Leverett, Massachusetts.
Beyond his devotion to his family, Jon was a man of many talents and pursuits: U.S. Navy veteran, small business owner, manager in high technology corporations, educator, author, and publisher. Many will remember Jon for his endless intellectual curiosity, love of physics, chemistry, ciphers and codes, and a voracious appetite for reading both fiction and non-fiction.
Following Naval service aboard the U.S.S. Essex during the Cold War, he was a quality engineer manager at Kollmorgen Corporation in Northampton, Massachusetts and co-owned Amherst Audio in Amherst, Massachusetts before earning his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1973. After nearly a decade of program and quality management at Digital Equipment Corporation, Jon left industry to pursue his love of chemistry, earning his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2000 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A dedicated member of the American Chemical Society, he served as Chair for the Connecticut Valley Section in 2005.
Jon served nearly 14 years at Amherst College as a lecturer, laboratory instructor, and the campus chemical hygiene officer before “retiring” to Savannah, Georgia. Not content with being idle, he continued to educate and inspire students with his passion for chemistry. He fulfilled a lifelong dream of teaching high school chemistry at Saint Andrews School on Wilmington Island before joining the faculty at Armstrong State College to teach basic and organic chemistry. In his second attempt at retirement, he founded Swift River Publishing, LLC, writing and self-publishing six fictional works as well as publishing the works of several authors. In his free time, he volunteered as the treasurer for the West Fairlee Center Congregational Church in Vermont.
Visiting hours will be held at Islands Chapel, Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors on Wednesday, March 31st from 5 to 7pm in Savannah, Georgia. A Celebration of Life and Internment Ceremony will follow in the summer of 2021 at the West Fairlee Center Congregational Church. In lieu of flowers, donations in remembrance of Jon can be made to the West Fairlee Congregational Church.
JoAnn, Charity and Marc, Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. Jon was a remarkable man and will be missed dearly. Much love, Kim and Lawrence
- Lawrence and Kim Bennett, Savannah, GA
Jon was a man of impassioned beliefs and great integrity. We were so very honored to call him our friend. One of the finest things we can say about him can be found in this quote from Alexander Pope: "An honest man is the noblest work of God." We miss you dearly old friend.
- Len & Lois Capobianco, Coloma, WI
Jon’s passing came as a tremendous shock! He was so vibrant with still many plans and goals to accomplish. He was a wonderful man. My deepest condolences to the entire family. Jim Keedy
- Jim Keedy, Savannah, GA
JOANN, MY NAME IS JACK WALMSLEY AND MAYBE YOU WILL REMEMBER ME FROM THE TIME I SENT YOU AND JON A BASKET OF FRUIT AFTER JON GOT MY WIFE'S BOOK, "ANNE'S JOURNEY" PUBLISHED. IT WAS MY WIFE'S DREAM TO GET HER BOOK PUBLISHED AND JON MADE IT HAPPEN. I SENT YOU A CARD IN THE MAIL YESTERDAY WHICH YOU SHOULD GET SOON, BUT UNTIL THEN I WANT TO EXTENED MY CONDOLENCES TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FOR A MAN WHO I ONLY KNEW FROM TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS, BUT SOUNDED LIKE A PERSON I WOULD HAVE REALLY LIKED TO HAVE MET. JACK WALMSLEY, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
- JACK P WALMSLEY, FORT MYERS , FLORIDA
Jon was such a special friend that will be missed dearly. He was so talented and shared his talents with love. He was always there to help Steve and I with hurricane damage or any other home project. He was a fantastic cook and all of us loved our neighborhood get togethers with his scrumptious soups and stews. We will miss our special friend. Our deepest sympathy to our dear friend Joann and his loving family.
- Steve and Helena Busbee, Savannah , Georgia
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Jon. I always enjoyed talking to him when I would come out to pressure wash the house. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
- Kevin Swanson, Pooler , Ga
We are so sorry to read about Jon. Thinking about you and the family, sending our sympathy, hugs and love.
- LaSalle, Whately, MA
My deepest sympathy to you JoAnn, Charity and Marc. I was saddened to hear of Jon's passing. I remember working well with Jon at Kollmorgen. It was enjoyable to work with him. I am impressed by all he accomplished since leaving Kollmorgen.
- George Disque, Belchertown, Masachusetts
Sanborn Family, My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time. While random, I remember Jon’s old baseball mitt that Marc and I would use to play catch. It was a vintage 4-finger glove. For an 11-year old kid, it amazed me that we were even allowed to use it! Jon always made me feel welcomed. Much love, RJ Dawson
- RJ Dawson, Boca Raton, Florida
Dear JoAnn,Marc and Charity, We are so saddened to hear of Jon's passing. We have such fond memories of our football days, Bingo, get togethers,etc. You have been often in our thoughts through the years, and now ,please know you have our prayers and very deepest sympathy. God bless you all,especially Jon. He was such a good man. We know you will miss him terribly. Love and hugs. Larry,Chris and Earl
- The DeLue family, Florence, MA
I loved working with Jon here at Amherst College. He loved to share his knowledge with others. I am so sorry for his families loss. May he stay in our hearts and memories.
- Heidi Kellogg, Huntington, MA
Dear JoAnn, Charity, and Marc, Jon was such a light to so many people. At Amherst College he was always there to help, or take a young person under his wing. I will miss his friendship, wisdom and sage advise. There are so many emotions rising, yet no words can truly express this loss. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy; my prayers are with you during this very sad time.
- Cathy Stillerman, Greenfield, MA
Dear folks, Jo, Charity and Marc, just discovered the news online of Jon's passing and, of course,was shocked and saddened beyond belief. Jon was a man endowed with many attributes of kindness, passion for living, spiritual mores and values. He touched so many hearts and left his mark and influenced so many lives for the greater good, me for one , I hate thinking that he is gone. Take care Jo, Charity and Marc, I've thought of you folks often and more so now. Bless you and your families. I love you still. Addie
- Addie Escarcida, Pueblo, CO
I knew Jon when he worked at Amherst College. Jon was an amazing man and a fantastic colleague. He is dearly missed by all of us here at the Amherst chemistry department. He is in our hearts and minds, and we wish JoAnn and the rest of Jon’s family our deepest condolences.
- Anthony Bishop, Amherst, Massachusetts
JON WAS ONE OF MY MANAGERS AT DIGTIAL WESTFIELD MASS; QUALITY CONTROL DEPARTMENT. I AM SADDENED TO SEE THAT HE PASSED AWAY. JON WAS A DOWN TO EARTH PERSON, WHO HAD A COMFORT LEVEL WORKING WITH PEOPLE AT ANY LEVEL. THANK YOU JON!!!!!
- THOMAS LABAY, Easthampton, Massachusetts
Goodbye, from your first daughter and oldest child.
- Susan Hare, Tilton, NH
Jon is also survived by two children and three grandchildren in New Hampshire. Daughter Susan M. Hare, 59, son Jeffrey A. Hare,58. Grandchildren Amanda,21, Taylor, 20 and Connor, 17. They meant as much to him in life as in death.
- Jill Hare, Bow, NH
We will treasure our memories of the fun times shared together in the neighborhood. Jon was such a caring person who was always willing to lend a hand to others. We enjoyed hearing his stories and reading his books. Our heartfelt condolences to JoAnn, Charity, and Marc and friends for this great loss. Love and prayers to you all.
- Lynn, Nancy, and Jesse Easterlin, Savannah, Ga
Jon will never be forgotten. We will always remember the wonderful stories he would share about life. Always greeting us with a smile, we will forever cherish his great sense of humor. JoAnn, we share in your grief. Thoughts and prayers are with you and family.
- David and Sherri Brown, Savannah, Georgia
It is hard to think of all the little things Jon did that made a tremendous difference in our lives. Jo Ann, he was a husband and life partner to you and to Charity and Marc, he was a wonderful father and provider. To me, he was a brother-in-law and a remarkable person, someone to look up to as a role model. He was always there when I needed help; he was there to drive me to the recruiting station so I could enlist in the Army in 1973. His kindness and generosity helped me grow in so many ways and allowed me to discover the world, start a family, and further my education. Jon was always there to help others too; he was a great uncle to my kids, especially during their college years. They always had a place to go during school breaks and were able to spend time with their uncle, aunt, and cousins during the holidays. I will always remember our summer lunch get-togethers in New Hampshire when we would catch up on things from the past year. Jon was always an amazing and humble brother-in-law who was very proud of his kids. I only have fond memories of our times together. He left behind a beautiful and loving family, but he was blessed in so many ways too. JoAnn, Charity, Marc, and the rest of Jon's family, please accept our prayers and deepest condolences.
- Bruce, MiCha & Family, Osan Air Base, South Korea
Dear JoAnn, I've thought about Jon every single day since I heard the news. He was such a wonderful friend--so much more than merely a colleague (which he was wonderful at too, by the way). My heart goes out to you and the family. Please know that I've missed him since he retired and even more so now. With sincere condolences, David
- David Hansen, Amherst, MA
Dear JoAnn, Charity and Marc, Our family would like to extend our deepest sympathies to you and your families for the ever-so-early passing of your husband and father. Jon was both a colleague and personal friend who I met and worked closely with at Amherst College. His knowledge, sense of humor and attention to detail were all things that I fondly remember of Jon. Kelley and I very much enjoyed the dinners we shared with you (JoAnn) and Jon, talking mostly about our children, retirement and yes.... work. We will greatly miss the conversations that we had planned in the future. He will be greatly missed, and fondly remembered. Wishing you all our best. Heather, Jennifer, Kelley and Rick Mears
- Rick & Kelley Mears, Amherst, MA