Rest in peace
Thomas D. Stafford, was born in Oklahoma City on October 7, 1932, the son of Joseph and Lela Sturgis Stafford. He died August 18, 2019 at his home in Louisville, Colorado. After his course of studies at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas; Tom was ordained a Catholic priest in 1959. A few years later, he volunteered to serve as a missionary from the Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The mission was located in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, and he was one of the three first priests assigned to the Mission in the early 1960s. Later Blessed Stanley F. Rother served in this same Guatemala Mission. Tom established both an agricultural co-op, and a Montessori school for pre-school children and was the technician for the radio-school. He returned to Oklahoma in 1969. He left the active priesthood in 1971 and settled initially in Florida.
Throughout his life, he was always trying something new and different. He operated a ham radio, and did deep sea diving off the coast of Florida. He learned to fly a plane and received his pilot’s license, although he only flew a plane a few times. In the 1970s he built a home computer from a kit, meeting with men who also built home computers. Eventually he was employed at IBM, working as a technical writer. He officially retired in 1996 from IBM while in Colorado, although he continued to work there as an independent contractor for a few more years.
Tom was predeceased by his parents Joseph and Lela Stafford, two older brothers, Joseph Stafford II, and James Stafford. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, three sisters, Marilyn Zumwalt, Carolyn Kieffer, and Margaret Murray; and many nieces and nephews. His funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Thomas Acquinas Catholic Church, in Boulder, Colorado on Friday, August 23, 2019. Memorials may be made in Thomas's name to the Harvest of Hope Pantry, 2960 Valmont Rd., Boulder, CO 80301. You may contact the pantry for more information at 720-382-1971.