John Kenneth Sanborn, 73, a resident of Grand Island since 1970, passed away on God's Friday, April 14, 2017, surrounded by his loving family at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center-ICU.
He was born June 13, 1943, to the late Ted K. and Helen (Mallette) Sanborn. His family resided in Seattle, Washington, during his youth. He graduated from Bishop Duffy High School and Niagara University with honors. He married his best friend and soulmate, Christine (Jarosz), on Jan. 2, 1967, at Holy Trinity Church in Niagara Falls.
John is the father of Martin (Tracy) of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Esther of Chicago, Illinois, Christopher (Kelly) of North Chili, New York, Alexander, of Los Angeles, and twins Rachel and Clare (deceased). He is the adored grandfather of Mara, Daniel, Ewan, Rhys, Edric, Neve, and Claire. John is also survived by his brother James (Nancy) of Westlake Village, California, his sister Carol of Amherst, his brothers-in-law Stanley (Diane) Jarosz of Niagara Falls, Vincent (Bonnie) Jarosz of Woodbridge, Virginia, Philip (Barbara) Jarosz of Kenmore, and several nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, cousins and extended family.
John retired after 35 years of service to New York state as corporate tax auditor for the Department of Taxation and Finance. He was honored with the Commissioners Award in recognition of his "dedicated service to the department and contributions to its service to the public." He was known and respected for his integrity and keen sense of justice among legal, government and business sectors in his application of tax law. In retirement, John continued his service to the public as he used his expertise as a volunteer with the AARP Foundation as a tax preparer for senior citizens and others in need in Niagara Falls and on Grand Island. Often greeted as the "Tax Man," he was volunteering at the John Duke Senior Center when he suffered the medical incident that led to his untimely death.
A deeply spiritual man, John professed as a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, Holy Name Province, St. Patrick Fraternity, in 1976. He served as local fraternity minister, regional treasurer, national treasurer, national vice minister, and chair of the National Quinquennial Congress of the Secular Franciscan Order-USA. Currently, he was treasurer of the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants. John coedited the "Essential Documents of the Secular Franciscan Order." He received the Alma Kraus Memorial Service Award for "dedicated service to his Brother and Sister Secular Franciscans and to the Human Family." In 2014, John received his highest honor, the Secular Franciscan Order-USA St. Kateri Tekakwitha Region Peace Award "for his faithful service to the church and the Secular Franciscan Order National, Regional, and Local Fraternities. Professed 38 years, his life is a witness to servant leadership, humility and compassion. John is a true Franciscan and brother to all."
John served as a sacristan and liturgical minister at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Buffalo and recently on the parish finance committee. He also served at Holy Trinity Church and Divine Mercy Parish in Niagara Falls. John volunteered his time to maintain the buildings and grounds of the Historic Holy Trinity and Niagara Heritage of Hope and Service complex. Applying what he learned through Preservation Buffalo Niagara and the Landmark Society of Western New York, he contributed to the placement of the complex on the National Register of Historic Places. A founding member of the Niagara Polish Cultural and Historical Society, he served as treasurer. John volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Niagara Falls and Buffalo. He served as local treasurer for the Boy Scouts of America and was a member of the Army National Guard. John was a regular blood and platelet donor to the American Red Cross and a designated Unyts donor.
John was a noted painter and photographer. He received accolades at local fairs, festivals, and art shows, including those at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center. His works hang in private residences and businesses around the country. His photographs were featured on Time Warner Cable News channel. An opera and classical music enthusiast, John taught himself to play piano. Athletic from his youth, he participated in golf, swimming, tennis, cycling and cross country skiing. He enjoyed the challenge of kakuro, chess, and cards with his friends. John relished his work on home repair and improvement projects. He was a member of the West River Homeowners Association.
John gave love unconditionally to his wife, children, grandchildren, extended family, Franciscan family, church and local community. Many friends and family from everywhere prayed for John's recovery. John loved and valued each of his relationships. His family is grateful for all who shared their lives with him.
Friends may call on Friday, April 21, from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. at Historic Holy Trinity Church, 1419 Falls St., Niagara Falls. A Secular Franciscan Order Wake Service will be held on Friday at 6 p.m. All are welcome on Saturday, April 22, at 9:15 a.m. for a prayer service at Historic Holy Trinity Church followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Mary of the Cataract Church, 259 Fourth St., Niagara Falls, followed by burial at Holy Trinity Cemetery of Divine Mercy Parish, 5401 Robert St., Lewiston.
Any expressions of sympathy are appreciated. Donations in John's memory may also be made to:
•Secular Franciscan Order-St. Patrick Fraternity, c/o Treasurer Marie Meyer, OFS, 169 Heather Road, Cheektowaga, NY, 14225.
•Historic Holy Trinity Church and Niagara Heritage of Hope and Service, 1419 Falls St., Niagara Falls, NY, 14303, http://www.historicht.org/.
•ICU-Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, 621 10th St., Niagara Falls, NY, 14302, http://nfmmc.org/about-us/foundation/.