Dr. Ross Stafford North

1930-2020north_stafford_hires

At age 90, Dr. Ross Stafford North, still teaching a course in Personal Evangelism for his beloved students at Oklahoma Christian University, finally headed to heaven, leaving behind a legacy that challenges us all to “Be There!” This humble servant of God lived an extraordinary life of influence for good. His energy, intelligence and focus drove him to pursue excellence, and the force of his character lifted everyone around him to be more, achieve more, and love more.

Stafford was born March 12, 1930, in Abilene, Texas, to Lucas and Lola Cupples North, who said he loved his Bible so much he wanted to sleep holding onto it. That love compelled him to teach and preach God’s word for more than seven decades. World renowned for his series on Revelation, he also authored nine books using his talent for distilling complex ideas into simple, profound truth.

In 1955, Stafford married JoAnne Eades Boswell, of Lakeland, Florida, and found his life-long best friend, mission partner, Boggle-playing buddy, and world-traveling sidekick with whom he would build a home, a family, a congregation and a university. Every day of their 65 years together, Staff and JoAnne dedicated themselves to serving others especially their four children, who feel infinitely blessed. As 10 grandchildren, their spouses and 17 great grands arrived, Papa Staff and Mama Jo welcomed them in with beach trips, family devotionals, and “Blessings.”

In his six decades plus at OC, Stafford did whatever job was needed from tennis coach to Bible professor, from Academic Dean to Executive Vice President. He gave his all and was honored for his innovative methods in 1997 with an induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. His love for OC is only rivaled by his love for Memorial Road Church of Christ where he served as elder since 1972. His gentle loving care touched every heart as he led with unwavering faith.

Stafford is survived by his wife, JoAnne, his son, David (Beverly) North of Edmond, daughters Julie (Steve) Anderson of Edmond, Linda (Mike) Parker of Maumelle, Arkansas, and Susan (Chuck) Monan of Maumelle, Arkansas, his brother, John North of Abilene, Texas, all his grandchildren, great grandchildren, and many brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews he loved dearly. On Saturday, July 25, Stafford’s parents, brothers Charles and Herschel North, and a cloud of witnesses welcomed him home. “Well done.”

The family invites you to a visitation at Oklahoma Christian’s Garvey Center, Friday, July 31, at 6:30 to 8:30 and a celebration service at Memorial Road Church of Christ, Saturday, Aug. 1, at 11. For the safety of all, please wear a mask. Social distancing will be observed. Viewing will be from 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 p.m. Thursday and from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday at Matthews Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Oklahoma Christian University for Stafford North Memorial Fund for Faculty/Staff Development.

 

The service will also be available via livestream on YouTube at youtube.com/memorialroad

Comments

  1. While I acknowledge his many & lofty accomplishments, I appreciate his humility the most. He was so willing to listen and share advice to all of us.

  2. Linda/Susan—
    It’s been a difficult journey, but God’s angels have taken him home. Many will miss his presence, but you will miss him more. May God wrap you in his arms and send His Comforter when you need him most. You are loved.

  3. A truly remarkable servant of our Heavenly Father is Stafford North!!! His Christian influence will never be forgotten. His dedication to God’s Word, His Church, and to the multitudes of God’s children (Stafford’s brothers and sisters in Christ) so greatly has influenced those who have had the opportunity to know him. My sympathy goes out to JoAnn and the entire North family. Our loss is Heaven’s Gain!!!

  4. Brother North has attained victory over death after a lifetime of faithful service. I only met him once, but was impressed by his sound mind and humble demeanor. I know what kind of man he was because of the faithful, loving children I have had the pleasure to call my friends. I pray for God’s blessings to be continually poured out on this family and on all who were touched by this servant of Christ during his sojourn on earth.

  5. I learned so much from this man. Every sermon needs a “so what” for each listener to take home. Never put off what you need to do – AKA the Bob-Tail Bull story. The importance to “BE THERE” and a lifetime attitude of humility, service, humor, love, dedication, loyalty, friendship, duty, and Christ likeness.

    His life touched mine and so many others and will never be forgotten. We could never adequately express our appreciation and respect for this great servant who enriched our understanding of God’s word and made us better servants in the process.

    “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?”

    I offer my deepest sympathies to the family and my thanks to God for blessing my life by letting me sit a few short moments at the feet of Stafford North.

  6. He came out to Newcastle several times. Loved his bible classes, his sense of humor and of course his love for the Lord. When I was in charge of the Oklahoma city jail, his lovely wife and Kent Allen began bible studies with the city prisoners..

  7. I have enjoyed getting to visit with Stafford every week for the last couple of years as he brought JoAnne to her hair appointments. It was just as important for him to get her to the salon as it was to her. Every few weeks he would ask if I had time to cut his hair when he brought her. The love they had for each other is truly an inspiration.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, while I was cutting his hair he was telling me about a short story that he had just finished writing. He lived his life to the very end. He will be missed.

  8. Victory is declared by Brother North as he has crossed that great fixed Gulf. Brother North works has enabled countless to posses that same Victory because his passion, love , zeal in seeking the Lost and Sharing the Glorious Gospel !!! Our prayers for strength for Daughter Susan, Son in Law , Chuck Monan and each of Brother North Family ! A servant who made the difference in precious lives !!! The Arringtons !!!

  9. I will always remember his wit and wry smile. ED1111 and the “Six Shot Repeater Method” helped anchor a generation of us entering OCC. I once asked how many OC Presidents he had served, and he just grinned and said “all of them”…

  10. While we only met Dr. North once I know the type of servant he was through his children. They are generous and loving. Always willing to help anyone in need. They tell stories of the example their father and mother are and were. Our prayer is for peace and comfort to the family with assurance that Christ has taken him home.

  11. One of the measures of a great man is how many good stories you can tell about him. I have so many experiences with Dr. North that are etched on my heart. I think if you can tell good stories about his kids and their kids, it’s just as good; so I would like to tell a story about his grandson that I think will reflect well on him and his family.
    When I was dating my wife at Oklahoma Christian College in the ’80s, she was hired to babysit for David and Susan North(Son/Daughter in law). Their son David jr.(if memory serves) was around kindergarten age. This little boy had a house key, could do laundry, and had the attitude that he could do anything a teenager could do and the ability to back it up. If he had the internet back then, he probably would have had two businesses and an investment portfolio up and running. When he climbed up on the counter with his little body to get himself a snack, we asked him if he was supposed to be up there…he said, “yes!!!”. We were extremely impressed by how his parents had taught him to be so independent and responsible. That little fella was a little ray of sunshine and raised in a great family. In some ways, Dr. Stafford North was a 2nd parent to many of us in college. He gently pushed us to do more than some could say we could, he showed us that not only discipline and education help us grow, but that parental love and the love of God could encourage us on our life’s journey. Thank you, Dr. Stafford North; you ran a great race.

  12. Steve and I are very sorry for your family’s loss of this wonderful man. May his memory be a blessing to you and all of your family. We send our sincerest condolences with love. Carol & Steve

  13. My sympathy is extended to JoAnne and the North family. I first met Dr. North in 1962 when I was enrolled in Orientation as a Freshman at OCC. His humor, humility, servanthood, and example of true Christianity influenced my life as well as all the students at OC. My love of God’s Word grew under his teaching and his authorship of The Study of Revelation. I was privileged to take his tour of the Seven Churches of Asia. He was a mentor that cemented my Christianity, Thanks to the family for sharing him with all of us. It truly was a blessing!

  14. I admired his love of God’s word so much and his intense desire to edify me as a sister in the Lord and to reach others with the love of God and example of Jesus is so motivating to me to follow his life. Also he raised one of My closest and dearest sisters, Linda Parker. David And I have started holding up our thumb and saying Be There, to our own children and 10 grandchildren. I’m so very blessed to have known and heard and watched him live for Jesus, My love to his family’. Linda Byrd Smith

  15. Before my family moved to Edmond in 1964 to teach at Oklahoma Christian College, Stafford North searched out a house for us to rent. He and JoAnne met us and volunteered to “baby-sit” our children for that day so we could move into the house. This meeting began a long tenure of friendship with Stafford and JoAnne for the next 56 years. Stafford was an excellent administrator. He was also a great Christian model to follow. Few people in our brotherhood have impacted more people for Christ and for Christian education than Stafford and JoAnne North. Our sincere sympathy and love reaches out to JoAnne and the North family.

  16. Stafford was a true elder. He was respected at the elder’s meetings. His thoughts had a lot of weight in making decisions. He could organize and deliver a solution to the problem. I enjoyed working with him on many projects. He will be missed. Be There with his Master.

  17. In 1965 I took a course at OC called “Homiletics” (the design and delivery of sermons) under Stafford North. No class in college or graduate studies came close to the impact that had on my future ministry. What I still try to do today reflects the great influence Brother North had on me back then.

    While at OC I first saw in classes taught by Raymond Kelcy what I call the law of simplicity. Brother Kelcy with his keen intellect could take a very difficult, deep subject and so completely master that he could present it simply, clearly, and correctly to others. Brother North had that unique ability also and through it blessed the lives of countless people.

    My personal Mt. Rushmore with the bygone days of the OC Bible department in mind would have the faces of Kelcy, McCord, Jones, and North. What a quartet!

    Brother North did not use his intellect and academic prowess arrogance or criticism. He loved the Lord and His church and served in every way possible to advance it into the world.

    In later years, Brother North was very gracious to me in expressing praise for what I did and was. I never allowed him to do that without bouncing the appreciation back to his influence of whatever I have tried to do. I hope he understood what I was attempting to say. He does now.

  18. My sympathy is extended to Jo Anne and the entire family of this amazing Christian man. I had the honor to have him as my Bible and speech teacher at OC from 1961-1965. He was also my director in Songs America Sings and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, OC’s first three act play. His energy, intelligence, and wit never ceased to amaze me. I went on to teach English and speech for 32 years. His lessons in Christian living and preparing and delivering a speech guided me through all my years of teaching. He never grew weary in doing good. I know God welcomes him to heaven with open arms! A great man has just passed from our midst.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.