In memory of
On March 24th, 2018, at 12:55 pm, Reverend Kenneth Neal Stafford reached his lifelong goal and entered the gates of that wonderful City called Heaven. Among those who welcomed him home were his mother and father Rose and Otto Stafford, brother Edwin and wife Mildred Stafford, brother Joe and wife Dixie Stafford, and brother Dr Donald Stafford, his oldest daughter Connie Yeakley, son in law James Yeakley, and two granddaughters Robin Jones and Hannah Stafford, his mother and father in law Pauline and Elmer Coleman, and sister in law Marian Smith.
Those he left behind to carry on his legacy of loving others like Jesus loves are his wife Mary Louise Stafford, daughters Joyce Summers, Patricia and husband Jerry Thomas, Phyllis and husband Buddie Burk, eleven grandchildren, fourteen great grandchildren, one great-great grandson, sister Carolyn and husband RL Haley, sister in law Jane Stafford, and a slew of nieces, nephews, cousins, many close friends from his years spent in the ministry.
He was born in Valliant, Oklahoma, December 14, 1932, in a household so poor there was no soap to wash this fat little bundle of joy. He played, hunted, fished, and earned his education in the beauty of Southeast Oklahoma.
Kenneth graduated from Valliant high school and then joined the U.S. Air Force working as an airplane mechanic during the Korean War. He met the love of his life Mary, while stationed in Greenville, South Carolina. Their first child, artistic and musically talented, Connie Sue, was born during this assignment.
Upon his discharge from the military, he, his new bride, and their baby girl moved to Waxahachie, Texas, for Kenneth to begin his college education at Southwestern Assembly of God Bible College. A second daughter, education driven and master baker Joyce Annette, joined the family. After graduation, the family moved to Oklahoma City, OK, where Kenneth sold life insurance and eventually went to work for Tinker Air Force Base. He was also the associate pastor at Nicoma Park Assembly of God Church.
Here a third daughter, vocally and musically gifted and self proclaimed princess Patricia Gayle, joined the growing family. They lived there until 1964. At that time they moved back to his home town of Valliant and became the pastors at Valliant Assembly of God. It was here that God showed His favor and blessed them with the most perfect daughter, Phyllis Doreen.
July 1966 Kenneth tried out for Airport Assembly of God church, in Oklahoma City, OK. He would later tell us he preached the hardest sermon he could, thinking they would not vote him in as he loved country life. Several days later, he received the call informing him he had been voted in as senior pastor. He took over pastoring duties August 9, 1966. When he retired 38 years later the church had been rebuilt, new wings added, two full city blocks of property purchased, and a family center built. Rev Stafford and his wife retired August 2004 and returned to Valliant once again. His life had come full circle.
Under his ministry countless lives were changed, souls saved, families restored, bodies healed, and addicts set free. He truly lived what he believed and loved like Christ. There was no judgment just acceptance and unending love. Numerous ministries - pastors, missionaries, evangelist, music ministries, youth and children's ministries - got their beginning under his teaching and instruction. He not only imparted his knowledge to those willing to learn, but he obtained financial assistance for their education and licensing.
His family members have heard so many stories from people whose lives have been touched by Kenneth's ministry. His ministry, his life was based on the Word of God and the love of Jesus. One of his grandchildren said it best, "Our litmus test in situations was 'what would Grandpa do?'". With his example and God's guidance we will continue to live like he did, love like he loved, and serve Jesus with our very best.
Through all his life Rev Stafford had a theme song. It represented God's love towards the repentant sinner... Amazing Grace. He would ask you today "Have you accepted Jesus? Have you experienced His Amazing Grace? Let me tell you a story about Rose." Rest well in the arms of Christ.
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