Westborough – Allison Q. “Al” Sanborn, 94, of Westborough, MA, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 9, 2023. He was the husband of Elaine (Johnston) Sanborn, whom he met at the University of New Hampshire, and married on April 19, 1952.
Born on December 15, 1928, in Laconia, NH, Al was the son of the late Howard and Elenora (Currier) Sanborn. He was a 1946 graduate of Tilton-Northfield High School in Tilton, NH. From 1947 to 1950, Al served in the US Air Force, attaining the rank of Sergeant. Following his military service, he attended the University of New Hampshire, graduating in 1953 with a BS in Social Services. Al served the university for the next three years as director of the Student Union.
Al spent his entire career with State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America (later renamed Allmerica Financial Corporation), joining the Worcester, Massachusetts, office in 1956. There, he handled insurance sales and marketing. He spent 19 years in the Buffalo, NY, office. During that period, the family lived in East Aurora, NY, where their four boys grew up and went away to college. During this time, Al qualified for the designation of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). Al’s last 10 years with the company were spent back in Worcester, where he worked as a sales trainer and product-development manager. He retired in 1988.
Al was a long-time member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Westborough, where he sang in the choir. He was active part time with the Sudbury Valley Trustees and was affiliated with the Walk-Up Robinson Memorial Reservation, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Appalachian Trail Conference, and the Audubon Society. He was also a member of the Westborough Community Land Trust.
Al discovered tennis at age 45 and played several times a week for the next 35 years (often playing at the Westborough Tennis and Swim Club, where he was a member). Al and Elaine were involved in whitewater canoeing, which was an important part of their lives until they were in their 80s. They canoed in many states, as well as Canadian provinces and even Costa Rica. Al and Elaine were also involved with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, traveling far and wide to help those displaced by natural disasters.
In 1990, at the age of 61, Al set out to hike the entire 2,146 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and he succeeded in exactly five months; this achievement was a joint effort with Elaine, who navigated their camper-van on the journey. Elaine’s participation allowed Al to hike with a light pack 90% of the time and sleep in their camper-van.
In addition to his wife Elaine, Al is survived by four sons: D. Christopher (Catherine) of Davis, CA; Craig (Cathy) of Northbridge, MA; Tyler (Cheryl) of Dover, OH; and Jonathan (Sara) of Charlton, MA. He also leaves 10 grandchildren: Jana (Tom), Bryce (Chelsea), Kelsey, Tyler (Jenna), Kyle, Rachel (Daniel), Glenn, Reed, Olivia, and Clara; and 7 great-grandchildren: Amelia, Charlotte, Noah, Kinley, Sean, Mason, and Vander (Mason and Vander’s baby brother is expected in March 2024). Al was predeceased by a daughter, Susan.
Al considered himself an extremely lucky guy: great marriage, family, and health, and so many exciting and memorable adventures throughout his life!
The family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude to all of the compassionate caregivers at Whitney Place in Westborough, as well as the wonderful nurses and doctors at UMass Memorial Healthcare (University) Hospital, Worcester, who cared for him in his final days.
His funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, November 4, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 3 John St., Westborough, MA. Reverend Mary Rosendale will officiate. Military honors will follow. The burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Sudbury Valley Trustees or the Westborough Community Land Trust.
Pickering & Son Westborough Funeral Home assisted with arrangements.