UNION — Union County lost a member of the community who dedicated his entire life to serving others — family, friends, community and strangers.
Iverson George “I.G.” Vanderford passed away at 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 26 at Spartanburg Regional Restorative Care.
Mr. Vanderford was survived by his wife, Beth Smith Vanderford; son, Freddie Vanderford; grandson, Derik Vanderford; stepson, Charlie H. Smith of Maryland; a stepgranddaughter: Amanda Nadeau of Virginia; a special friend, Gwen Price of Buffalo; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Mr. Vanderford was predeceased by his wife, Virginia Inman Vanderford; daughter, Janet Vanderford Sanders; brothers, Albert Vanderford and Marvin Vanderford; and sisters, Pearl Crocker, Julia Wiliams and Mae Lemons.
Mr. Vanderford was born on May 13, 1928 in Lockhart, South Carolina, the son of John Posey and Georgia Sealy Vanderford. He was a 1945 graduate of Lockhart High School and grew up in Lockhart Free Will Baptist Church. He sang in a quartet with his brother Marvin and Herman and Roy Taylor. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950 and served two tours of duty in Korea, one in Europe, one in Japan, and one in Vietnam.
Mr. Vanderford served 26 years of active duty in the U.S. Army receiving among his distinguished military honors the Bronze Star, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry, the Army Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Meritorious Unit Citation Award. He retired with the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal four times and the Good Conduct Medal seven times.
Following his military career, Mr. Vanderford was employed by the Veterans Administration Hospital in Augusta, Ga. as a disabled veterans outreach representative. After moving back to Union County, Mr. Vanderford served as Veterans Affairs Service Officer for six years.
In 1994, Mr. Vanderford was recognized by the South Carolina State Senate in recognition of dedicated and outstanding service as Union County Veterans Affairs Service Officer, as well as his loyal military service during 1950-1976. The senate also thanked him for significant contributions to Union County, the State of South Carolina and the U.S.
Mr. Vanderford was known throughout the community for his willingness to serve others. He was a former member of Union County Council. He also served as Commander of the Buffalo Post 87 of the American Legion for more than 20 years and was a lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Mr. Vanderford was a 64-year member of the Lockhart Masonic Lodge, a 32nd degree Mason, and a Shriner. He was a past commander of the Legion of Honor and was a former member of both the Union County Council on Aging and Salvation Army boards of directors. He started a medication program for veterans in Union County by driving to Ft. Jackson to pick up medications for veterans who were unable to travel, and he would then hand deliver them. At the time of his death, Mr. Vanderford served as a member of the Union Hospital District Board of Directors, the Veterans Day Parade committee and as an adviser for the Catawba Area Council on Aging.
On Nov. 10, 2010, the building in Buffalo formerly known as the Drug Store Building and later the Buffalo Senior Citizen Building was renamed and dedicated as the I.G. Vanderford Building in honor of Vanderford’s tireless efforts for the citizens of Buffalo and veterans of Union County.
Mr. Vanderford still managed to find time to host parties for family and friends, at which he enjoyed cooking barbecue and various gourmet desserts. He also enjoyed catering events, making his signature dishes and edible arrangements. While playing host to family, friends and members of the community, he enjoyed giving tours of the massive miniature village he created with Dept. 56 pieces as well as landscape scenery he built to compliment them. He also created stories to tell as he showed each scene in the village.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Buffalo United Methodist Church conducted by Rev. Kevin Dalton, Rev. Jerry McKee and Rev. Steve Lemons. Burial will be at Rosemont Cemetery with Full Military Honors and Masonic Rites.
Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Friday evening at the S.R. Holcombe Funeral Home.
Active pallbearers will be Phillip Lemons, Robert Crocker, Stanley Vanderford, Keith Vanderford, Buddy Vanderford, Forrest Vanderford, Craig Price and Wilbur Smith. Honorary escort will be Earl Black, Ronnie Yount, Jimmy Kingsmore, Allen Cabiness, Steve Greer, Bobby Hall, Joe Plemons, Dan Burnett, Henry Maness, Jim Maness, Jimmy Johnson, Sam Elliot, and members of the American Legion, Buffalo Post 87.
Memorials may be made to Buffalo United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 176, Buffalo, S.C. 29321.
The family will be at the home, 138 Inman Drive, Buffalo.
The S.R. Holcombe Funeral Home, Inc.