L. Byrd Biography
Le Byrd was born on
March 30, 1946
Germany. His German
name was Franz Xavier Maria Riemenschneider.
The first 12 years of his life was spent living in
two orphanages; one in Essen-Steele and the other one in
often recalled some of his experiences while growing up in
he owned could fit in a small box that was kept under his
were served at scheduled times and if you missed one,
there were no snacks to get you by until the next meal. Coffee
was often served with the meals, because milk was not
remembered every year the older children, including
himself, would be taken to a farm to dig potatoes for the
would say that they always looked upon this event as
having fun because they knew that the owner would give
them a good meal. Discipline
was strict and bad behavior was not tolerated.
There were no toys.
He and the other children played on the grounds and
in the immediate
vicinity of the orphanage.
A great deal of emphasis was put on daily studying
after he would return from the elementary school he
Leroy and Roxie Byrd adopted Sanford and brought him to
Corpus Christi, Texas.
They furnished a tutor for him initially because he
could not speak English.
The tutor was somewhat helpful, but Sanford learned
most of his English by watching the
westerns that were on television during that time.
He was enrolled in the 5th grade at
Booker T. Washington Elementary in Corpus Christi, but his
educational background and previous learning exceeded that
became more evident as he began speaking English.
Sanford graduated from Roy Miller High School in
High School, Sanford enlisted in the Army, where he spent
the next 15 years. His
travels were extensive which included two tours of duty in
Korea, and he came very close to being sent to Viet Nam.
Instead, he was assigned the duty of Supply
Sergeant for pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies.
Sanford began collecting German stamps while he was in the
army and kept this up for awhile until his small
collection was stolen.
In 1979, he underwent his first heart by-pass
surgery and subsequently retired for medical reasons.
began collecting again in 1985 with the Black Heritage
enjoyed reading and learning more about all aspects of
philately which included but was not limited to first day
covers, ceremony programs, African Americans on world wide
stamps, African American people & themes,
commemorative panels, souvenir sheets and selected
collection is extensive and amazingly representative of
all these areas, very neatly distributed and categorized
in attractive albums.
with others in the philatelic arena was widespread.
Sanford was a member of the APS (American
Philatelic Society), the
AFDCS (American First Day Cover Society), the ATA
(American Topical Association), the ACPS (American
Ceremony Program Society) and of course ESPER.
Collecting was a true hobby for him, which he took
equally as important to Sanford was the joy he experienced
from computing. Both
hobbies worked very well together for him.
Sanford essentially taught himself how to use the
computer over a period of time and he enjoyed updating his
hardware, peripherals, and software.
After becoming a member of ESPER, he wanted to
undertake producing a newsletter for the organization.
He threw himself into this project with the intense
spirit that he often displayed with other endeavors.
“Reflections” was his pride and joy and he was
excited that he could make this contribution to ESPER.
In addition, Sanford designed his own website to
display a small portion of his collection.
He received numerous accolades from viewers for his
Le Byrd was basically a private person.
He enjoyed being at home, watching sports on
television, being on his computer and expanding his
passed away at home, privately and peacefully in his
office, at his desk on September 4, 2002.
Sanford is survived by his wife of 17 years, a son
and daughter-in-law, two daughters, four grandchildren,
four stepsons and other relatives and friends.