Robert W. Sanborn was born in Geneseeville, Michigan on February 10, 1929. His family moved to Clio shortly after his birth. He graduated from Clio High School and started his own retail gasoline business at the age of 19. In 1952 he changed to the wholesale petroleum business and owned the Sanborn Oil Company in Clio.
On April 2, 1950 he married Donna Jeanne Scott. They were blessed with three sons and a daughter.
He was raised as a Master Mason in Vienna Lodge No. 205 on January 30, 1951. He was duly elected as Worshipful Master in 1958. He was an officer for 30 years and was Treasurer. He was the Chairman of the Dedication Ceremonies of Clio’s new Masonic Temple in 1969. He served as President of the King Solomon’s Club in 1961.
In Grand Lodge, he served as Representative to the Board of General Purposes District No. 20, in 1969 and was President of the Board of General Purposes from 1973-1974.
He is a member of Flint Rapids Chapter No.116, R.A.M.; Genesee Valley Commandery No. 15, K.T., Flint; Flint Council No. 56, R. & S.M.; Flint York Rite College No. 5; Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite 32° Valley of Bay City; Elf Khurafeh Temple A.A.O.N.M.S., Saginaw; received the York Rite College Gold Honor Award in May 1972; Order of the Purple Cross York Rite College; Worthy Patron, Vienna Chapter No. 283, 1964-1965; Mallet Club of Michigan; Vehicle City Masonic H-12 No. 673; Honorary Memberships in Salyersville, Kentucky Lodge No. 769; Honorary Memberships in 13 Michigan Lodges; Member of St. Martin Conclave Red Cross of Constantine; Honorary 33° Mason; Served as Commander-in-Chief of the Bay City Consistory 1997-1999.
He was with the Clio Area Fire Department for 25 years, and retired as Fire Chief in 1980. He served the Township of Vienna in various positions for 42 years. He was a member of Bethany United Methodist Church, served as Chairman of the Trustee Board, Chairman of Administrative Board, Superintendent of Sunday School and served as head usher, Boy Scout Troop No. 201, and an Honorary Kentucky Colonel. He retired after 50 years in business in Clio.
He became Most Worshipful Grand Master on May 26, 1982. He also served as Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer from 1983-1989.