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The Hon. Keith Sanborn, a World War II U.S. Navy combat veteran who served the Sedgwick County justice system for two-thirds of his 100 years, died at home on Aug. 1, 2022. Known for his faith, integrity and commitment to the rule of law, this progressive Democrat supported the civil-rights movement and considered public service a sacred obligation. Wichita’s longest-serving District Attorney, 1959-1977, ended his distinguished career as an 18th District judge. He argued before the United States Supreme Court but quit the elite Supreme Court Bar Association to protest the court’s involvement in the 2000 presidential election. As prosecutor and judge, Sanborn handled high-profile cases, including the BTK Killer, the Holiday Inn Killer, and gangster George Poulos. He loved performing weddings, remaining a sought-after officiant into his 90s. Born Norman Keith Sanborn in Bluff City to Jonathan Earl Sanborn and Lola Mardis Sanborn, he attended Wichita’s Sunnyside Elementary School and East High School, then Antioch College until he enlisted in the wartime Navy. An aviator in the Pacific Theater, he served on a search-and-rescue squadron. He met W.A.V.E. control-tower operator Wanda Szymborski, of Syracuse, NY, at U.S. Naval Air Station/Pensacola, thinking, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.’ He did, on July 19, 1946. He adored her. Wanda gave birth to Deborah, the first of four children, at Barbers Point Naval Air Station, Hawaii. Back home, Sanborn simultaneously earned a bachelor’s degree from the Municipal University of Wichita and a law degree from Topeka’s Washburn University, on the GI Bill. After practicing privately, he joined the District Attorney’s office. Voters elected him to the 18th District bench in 1980, then reelected him twice. Sanborn believed that “most people try to do the right thing most of the time.’ He insisted that lawyers and judges must protect the Constitution and Bill of Rights “if our freedom is to endure.” Active in Hillside Christian Church, which his parents co-founded, he belonged to the Wichita Audubon Society, the Wichita Art Museum, the Wichita and Kansas bar associations. Survivors: daughter Deborah K. Sanborn, of San Diego, (Peter T. Quinlan), son Keith John Sanborn (Peggy Ahwesh), daughter Wendy Sanborn Dougan (John Dougan), of Hollywood, CA, son Richard J. Sanborn, of Derby, grandchildren John Sanborn “Jack’ Quinlan, of Oceanside, CA, Caitlin A. Quinlan (Matt Acalin), of San Francisco, Art Dougan (Samantha Morgan), of Hollywood.

John Korty '59