In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Dora Jean McDonald Sanderford, 95

Dora Jean McDonald Sanderford, 1925-2020

Dora Jean McDonald Sanderford of Midland, Texas, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among American Affinity Peoples in Uruguay, in Middle America and through Baptist Spanish Publishing House in El Paso, in Texas, died Dec. 3, 2020. She was 95.

Dora Sanderford was born on April 6, 1925, in the Antelope Community of Coryell County, Texas, to the late Nathan and Isabell McDonald. She grew up on a ranch with five brothers and two sisters and loved the outdoors and sports.

She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord when she was 10 years old and led many of her friends to Christ. She met her husband, Matthew A. Sanderford, at a revival camp meeting. He was a young ministerial student at Baylor University who was preacher for the revival. They married in 1943, and he was pastor of several small churches.

Sanderford attended Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, Texas, for a short time before joining her husband in Germany after World War II. Upon their return to the United States, they attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and in 1952 were appointed as Southern Baptist missionaries to Uruguay in South America.

According to her family, Sanderford loved starting kindergarten classes to bring children to the church and reach their parents. She wrote the curriculum for mission organizations for young children, girls and women in South America and traveled throughout South and Central America teaching and training.

In 1961, the Sanderfords were transferred to El Paso, Texas, to serve at the Baptist Spanish Publishing House, where she translated and wrote curriculum for the mission organizations in Spanish.

She and her husband served 35 years as missionaries and traveled to more than 37 countries around the world including all South and Central American countries, Europe, Germany and South Korea. After retirement they moved to Waco and served in a variety of roles at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church. She especially enjoyed teaching Spanish to foreign students and English as a second language.

Sanderford was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Matthew A. Sanderford, who died in 2004, and one grandchild.

She was survived by four children: Matthew A. Sanderford Jr. (Margarita) of Weatherford, Texas; Sharon Jean Cummings (Larry) of Round Rock, Texas; Lee Bell Ulvestad (Gregg) of Midland; and John Mark Sanderford (Susan) of Midland. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and one great great-grandchild.

Services were held on Dec. 12, 2020, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home in Waco, Texas, with burial at Waco Memorial Park.

Memorial donations may be made to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® in care of Wilshire Park Baptist Church, 801 S. Bentwood, Midland, TX 79703.

Read an obituary here.