Dr. Ross Stafford North
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