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William A. Stauffer

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William A. Stauffer Obituary
William A Stauffer

Des Moines

William Albert Stauffer, celebrated basketball player; businessman; devoted husband, father, and grandfather; and generous community leader, died November 26 at Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale, IA from a brain hemorrhage. He was 85.

Bill, as he was known, was born at Maryville, Missouri on June 9, 1930, the son of Marion Stauffer and Louise Mangelsdorf Stauffer.

He attended University of Missouri from 1948-52 on a basketball scholarship and majored in Advertising and Newspaper Organization and Management. He was president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and of Mystical Seven, the senior men's honorary society.

He became one of Mizzou's greatest basketball players. A 6' 4" center, he was an All-American; the first of six players to have his jersey retired; and the team's greatest rebounder. He still holds three Mizzou rebounding records. Named team captain his senior year, he was inducted into the Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991 and Mizzou's All-Century Basketball Team in 2006.

The Boston Celtics picked him during the 1952 NBA draft, but he turned them down to serve as First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and pursue a career in journalism.

In 1953 he married Jean Van Slyck Shanley, a St. Louis native who he had met at University of Missouri. Jean majored in Education at Mizzou, was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, and taught elementary school for several years.

Bill began his journalism career in Louisiana, Missouri. From 1955-63 he was the General Manager of dailies in York and Grand Island, Nebraska and the director of York and Grand Island's Chambers of Commerce.

He worked for Northwestern Bell Telephone Company for 20 years, becoming vice-president and chief executive officer of Iowa from 1974-83. He then served as chief operating officer of Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Iowa.

After retiring in 1992, Bill and Jean moved to Landfall in Wilmington, NC to enjoy golf, tennis, and long walks year-round. They also traveled widely and vacationed with their family in Sea Island, GA.

A life-long lover of golf, Bill regularly played in a foursome with his two sons-in-law, Mark LaFavre and Jim Lawson, and his grandson Connor LaFavre.

In 2010 Bill and Jean returned to Des Moines to live at Deerfield Retirement Community.

Bill is best remembered for his extraordinary generosity and community leadership, his graciousness and humility, and his levelheaded intelligence.

From 1974-97 he served on numerous community service boards, including as president of Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, chairman of United Way of Des Moines, and chairman of the capital campaign for the Des Moines Y.M.C.A. He was also a longtime senior warden and member of the vestry at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.

A generous Mizzou alumnus, Bill chaired the library capital campaign and received its Faculty-Alumni Award and Distinguished Service Award.

His humility was such that many friends knew nothing of his accomplishments.

Bill is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jean Shanley Stauffer; his three children, Rebecca (Mark) LaFavre of Dallas TX, John Stauffer (Deborah Cunningham) of Cambridge MA, and Rachel Stauffer (Jim Lawson) of Des Moines; and his three grandchildren, Connor LaFavre, Erik Stauffer, and Nicholas Stauffer; and his sister, Virginia Stauffer Peters of Los Angeles.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday December 5 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 815 High St., Des Moines, IA 50309.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lifespace Foundation, c/o Deerfield Retirement Community, YMCA of Greater Des Moines, or University of Missouri Libraries.

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Published in Des Moines Register from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, 2015
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