James Stafford

Obituary
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James Stafford Branson, MOJames Linn Stafford, love of God, love of family, love of country, died peacefully on December 14, 2013, in his home in Branson, MO. He was 74 years old. Born April 10, 1939, in Scotia, NY, Jim was the son of Linn and Hazel Stafford, each of whom instilled in him many values and a great love for family. He was the baby of the family having two older brothers, Dick and Dave Stafford, who survive. They grew up spending a lot of time at their family cabin near Oxford, NY, built by their grandfather, George Stafford. Camp, as they called it, was a time of great food, fishing, hiking, reading, bird-watching, roasting marshmallows, clam bakes, card games and all around family fun. Jim shared his love of Oxford and its Lake Warn with his wife, four children, ten grandchildren, and a great-grandchild, all of whom treasure and look forward to continue sharing the great family tradition of Camp. Jim attended Purdue University where he studied diligently to become a teacher. His concentrations were in the fields of biology and history, and he developed a true passion for the Civil War era and Abraham Lincoln. He found great joy in being a member of the Purdue Glee Club and was also a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. He began his service to his country at Purdue as a member of ROTC. He met the love of his life at the Purdue Union and, after he graduated from Purdue, married Cheryl A. Rush in Lafayette, Indiana on September 2, 1962, who survives. They shared a beautiful marriage for 51 years. They wasted no time in beginning a family of their own. Jim is survived by his four children, Sheri L. Edgell, Deborah S. Morris, Richard J. Stafford, and Michael A. Stafford. Jim was a devoted and faithful husband and father. There was never a shortage of love, goofiness, singing and fun. Singing was a daily occurrence throughout his entire life, and no place was off limits, not even a public restroom. Jim believed in hard work, integrity, and was a man of his word. He always encouraged his children and grandchildren to keep pressing forward in becoming the person God made each of them to be. He loved his family greatly and instilled in them, more than anything else, a genuine and reliant trust and faith in the Lord. He truly encompassed and could always be heard sharing that, Love never fails. He was a mighty warrior for Christ and was passionate about sharing God's love with anyone and everyone. He and his wife, Cheryl, attended Rhema Bible School where they studied to become pastors. They graduated and began Shepherd's Heart Ministries in 2008. They have traveled abroad and all throughout North America sharing the love of Christ with Native Americans. Jim, a retired lieutenant colonel of the United States Army Signal Corps, was a true patriot. He was chaplain, 5th Infantry Division, and served with the Steel Tigers, 1st Battalion, and the 77th Armor in the Republic of Vietnam. He loved his country and was proud to be an American. His Band of Brothers will miss him greatly. Jim never knew a stranger. He was goofy, fun-loving, quirky and quick to shoot off an endless array of cliches. His smile was contagious, he was full of joy, and his laughter was full and hearty. He was devoted, passionate, and never afraid to share the great love of God. Jim was a true disciple of the Lord. He never stopped loving and never stopped sharing the word of God. His family will miss him greatly but look forward to seeing him again. Jim will be laid to rest at 1 p.m. on Monday, December 23, 2013 at Riverside Cemetery in Oxford, NY, with full military honors. A brief reception at Fred's Inn will follow the burial. Contributions in Jim's memory may be made to Faith Life Church, 3701 Missouri Route 76, Branson, MO 65615. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Wilson Funeral Home. To leave the family a message of condolence, please visit the funeral home website at www.wilsonfh.com.

Published in The Daily Gazette Co. on Dec. 20, 2013
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