Donald Richard Stafford

July 02, 2024

Donald Richard Stafford was born in Blackwell on May 20, 1931 to Douglas Hadley & Edna Mae (Stephenson) Stafford. Don passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, June 28th at the age of 93. Don grew up attending Blackwell schools, where he excelled as a wrestler. Don won a state wrestling championship in 1949, then attended OSU on a wrestling scholarship. Following his education, Don then served in the US Army as a radio operator during the Korean War. Don was actively serving when the armistice agreement was declared to end the war; he climbed Christmas Hill with his commanding officer to watch the multitude of North Korean soldiers retreat.

In 1952, Don was married to Shirley Looper, & together they had a daughter Jeanne. The couple divorced after many years of marriage, then several years later Don married Clara Peterson Norlin in 1973. Clara had 3 children from a previous marriage, Lonnie, Dee & Drew. Don & Clara then had a daughter Dawn Elynn in 1974.

After his honorable discharge from the US Army, Don was employed as a maintenance foreman at the Blackwell Zinc Company. After the Smelter closed in 1973, Don became a maintenance foreman at Acme Foundry for years, until he retired in 1992.

Don enjoyed gardening, woodworking, spending time with his family, and was an avid fisherman. Don & Clara spent many Thanksgivings in Port Arkansas fishing for flounder, along with various family members. They also traveled to many different lakes to camp and fish nearly every weekend. Don loved St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Drew and Dawn Elynn took Don to St. Louis in 2022 to attend his first ever Cardinals game in person at the age of 91. Don loved dachshunds, and had many different ones that he always named after a Cardinals baseball player, including Ozzie and his beloved mini Yadi. Don was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Blackwell Veterans of Foreign Wars.

In the last few years of his life, Don moved to Norman to be supported by his family, but returned to Blackwell shortly before his death. Don was preceded in death by his parents Doug & Edna; wife Clara; daughter Jeanne Young; brother Leon and his wife Barbara; and sister Doris Samuel. Survivors include: sister Mary (& Nathan) Hall; brother-in-law Don Samuel; son-in-law Larry Young; stepdaughters Lonnie Norlin Stone, Dee Norlin Ross, stepson Drew (& Cindy) Norlin, and daughter Dawn Elynn (& Wayland) Swinford. Don has 14 grandchildren, and numerous great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

A Vigil and Rosary will be held on Friday, July 5th at 7pm at Roberts and Son funeral home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St Joseph’s Catholic Church by Father Balaswamy Bathini on Saturday, July 6th at 10am, with burial to follow at Blackwell Cemetery. Wear your plaid shirt and khaki pants to the service in honor of Don. Online condolences can be made at For those who are unable to attend, the service will be live-streamed at this link: