Donald E. Stafford, 82

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Donald Eugene Stafford, age 82, of Minerva passed away at Crandall Medical Center in Sebring on June 17, 2024.

Donald was born Dec. 15, 1941, in East Liverpool to the late Donald H and Gertrude (Anderson) Stafford.

Upon graduation from Minerva High School in 1959, Donald earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University.  He also graduated from the US Army Officer Training Program in 1965 and the US Army Aviation Training Program in 1966.  Donald graduated from advanced helicopter training and was assigned to Vietnam as a pilot of a Huey helicopter.  While stationed in Vietnam, he was involved in a serious crash that demolished his helicopter, and later was rescued from the jungle.  Another time, he was shot down by Viet Cong machine fire.  Donald returned to the states and became a flight instructor at Fort Rucker, AL.  Donald retired from the military in 1990 after serving his country for approximately 25 years.  In 2008, he received the Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Agency for 50 years of civilian flying without an accident. 

After retiring from the military, Donald first worked for the Donald Stafford Reality.  Then, he taught Health and Science at Hazen Junior High for 15 years.  In 2022, Donald was inducted into the Minerva High School Hall of Fame.

Donald had a love of music.  He taught himself how to play the guitar while in college.  He wrote several songs.  He loved to play his guitar and sing at social gatherings.

Donald was firm in his faith having been an active member of Grace Brethren Church/Grace Chapel of Minerva for over 49 years. He served as a Deacon. On several occasions Donald served in the church praise band as well.  He was a prominent leader in the church and never hesitated to give his time and offer his knowledge to both believers and non-believers in Christ. 

Donald was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who influenced his family and their lives through his faith as he spent many hours enjoying life with them.  He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Kathryn Stafford of Minerva, and their children: Murray (Marcia) Stafford of Barnesville, Thomas (Vicki) Stafford of Minerva and Sharon (Thomas) Lease of Kings Mountain, NC. Donald will be deeply missed by his grandchildren, Kaylin (Kyle), Lauren (Matthew) Frank, Dillon, Nicholas, Nathan, Neil, Joe, and Megan, as well as his great-grandchildren, Elena, Colt, and Gabriella

Funeral service will be held at Bartley Funeral Home, 205 West Lincoln Way, Minerva, Wednesday, June 19, at 7 p.m. with Pastor Galen Wiley officiating.  Burial will be at Moultrie Cemetery June 20, at 10 a.m. with full military honors.  Visitation will be held June 19 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Bartley Funeral Home.

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