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Navigators’ Lorne Sanny Dies at 84

Mar 31, 2005

Dr. Lorne Sanny, second president of The Navigators, died March 28.

His death was attributed to complications from pneumonia following several months of serious health issues and a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He was 84.

Sanny, a native of Iowa, committed his life to Christ as a teen. He attended Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now known as Biola University), where he met and joined The Navigators, a Christian ministry founded by Dawson Trotman to help people “know Christ and make Him known.”

Lorne married Lucy in 1943 and started a family not long after. In the midst of their active ministry lives, they raised six children.

For 15 years, Sanny served as Trotman’s understudy, including seven years with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) as director of counseling and follow-up. When Trotman drowned in 1956, he was succeeded by Sanny.

During Sanny’s 30-year tenure as president and general director of The Navigators (which moved from Southern California to Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs in 1953), The Navigators grew from a staff of 171 in fewer than a dozen countries to 2,580 in 71 countries.

Currently, 4,027 Navigator staff work in 110 countries, among 214 people groups and in 161 languages.

After stepping down as president and general director of The Navigators in 1986, Sanny continued as chairman of the U.S. Board of Directors until 1993. He developed and served the Navigator Business and Professional Ministries, The Navigators’ marketplace outreach.

Sanny continued to help Navigator staff worldwide, as well as being a mentor to Christian businessmen and an active participant in his local church until his death.

Jerry White, who succeeded Sanny as The Navigators’ third president in 1986, said “What I’ve come to learn is that, though Dawson Trotman was the founder of The Navigators, Sanny was the builder of The Navigators.”