J.W. "Stan" Stafford, stalwart Columbia College supporter, 1918-2010
Long-time Columbia College supporter and 23-year trustee J.W. “Stan” Stafford passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Lenoir Health Care Center in Columbia, Mo. He was 91.
"We have lost not only a benefactor but a good friend," said President Gerald Brouder. "The buildings that students, faculty and staff use for recreation and academic achievement every day are the fruits of his unprecedented generosity. I will miss Stan greatly."
Stafford and his late wife, Lois, had been ardent supporters of Columbia College since 1974. Then, in 1989, the couple made a substantial donation which allowed the college to construct the J.W. and Lois Stafford Library. In 2002, the Staffords donated one-quarter of the $2 million renovation cost of the Southwell Complex, which contains courts for basketball, volleyball or tennis and where commencement is held annually.
"I just saw in Columbia College an institution with value, one worth supporting," Stafford said in 2008.
"I am proud to say that I came to Columbia with $10 in my pocket and was self-sufficient from then on [during the Depression],” Stafford said. "The community has been good to me, and I have tried to give something back."
The Staffords' daughter, Frances Stafford Koepke, her husband Gene Koepke and their children, Mark and Laura, also have demonstrated generous support for Columbia College, especially for Cougar athletics. They are known as passionate fans, though there is not one alumnus in the family.
Stafford was born in 1918. He married Lois Smith in 1939 and received a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from the University of Missouri in 1940. He served in the Navy during World War II and joined his father-in-law and mother-in-law in the family business at Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. in 1947, which he and remainder of the family owned for 60 years.
The Staffords sold the business in 1985. They then established the Stafford Charitable Trust, which has distributed more than $1.35 million to local charities and organizations to date, the bulk of which went to Columbia College.
Stafford was a Mason, past president and past governor of the Mo-Kan Federation of the Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club. He held board positions with Woodhaven, Cosmopolitan Club and the University of Missouri Diabetes Center, and was a member of the First Christian Church of Columbia.
To read Stafford's life story in his own words, go to the Columbia Tribune for the full story.