Onie was 86 years old, born July 2, 1929 in Deer River, Minn. to Charles P. and Viola (Robinson) Kelley. Onie was the youngest of three children, a sister Katherine and brother Charles P. Jr. Her parents and siblings all predeceased her.
Onie, who grew up in Deer River, was Irish through and through with beautiful red hair and an Irish temper to match, which she inherited from her father. When Onie was four years old, her own mother died and while her father was devoted to raising his children, she always missed having that maternal relationship in her life. Without a doubt, that contributed to her being the special mom that she was. She always said she wanted her children to have all the special meals and home baked goodies they could ever want and all the hugs too. Onie was indeed a wonderful cook, her cinnamon rolls were legendary and we'll all miss her hugs.
In the fall of 1947 at a dance, Onie met a young sailor named Frank Sanford who was home on leave. They married December 30 and celebrated 67 years together before Frank died May 30, 2015. In that 11 months, Mom missed Dad tremendously and they are certainly dancing together again.
Onie and Frank moved to Montana in 1954 settling in the Thompson Falls area where they lived for many years, later living in Plains and in 2007 a final move to Kalispell.
Onie was always close to all her children and their families, prayed for us all and when anyone of them left her house to go home, if it was much distance, were admonished to "call when you get there so I know you're home safe". Onie loved spending time with her family.
Onie is survived by her children Michael (Pamela) Sanford of Plains, Katherine Mathers of Plains, Jennifer (Lonnie) Stevens of Denver, Colo., Timothy Sanford of Kalispell, Daniel Sanford of Kalispell, Jessica Lenz of Kalispell; grandchildren, Tracy Sanford of Yelm, Wash., Shawn (Becky) Sanford of San Antonio, Texas, Pamela Sanford of Salt Lake City, Utah, Vincent (Deborah) Sanford of Albuquerque, N.M., Scott (Samantha) Sanford if Hauser, Idaho, Elizabeth (Brad) Kramer of Roundup, Mont., Zack (April) Mathers of Plains, Aletheia (Ben) DaGiau of Billings, Arthur (Ruth) Stevens of Denver, Colo., Spenser Stevens of Denver, Colo., Marty Stevens of Grand Forks, N.D., Nik Lenz of Salt Lake City, Utah, Erik Lenz of Kalispell and 25 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren and she was Aunt Onie to many special nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held at Canvas Church in Kalispell Saturday, April 23 with Pastor Kevin Geer officiating.
Onie was a true child of God, and served Him faithfully. She will be missed and forever remembered.