Donald David Stafford
On Tuesday, July 13, 2021 Donald David Stafford died in Colorado Springs, CO at the age of 88. He was born in Massachusetts in 1933 where he lived until joining the Naval Air Reserve in May 1951. He was sworn into the Air Force in March 1952 where he obtained his Associates degree and became an aircraft mechanic.
He married Virginia Joan Danforth in 1955 until her death in February 1981, then remarried Claudia Woodward in February 1982. Together, Don and Ginger had three daughters and one son and he gained another daughter and a stepson with Claudia.
Don was loved and respected by those who knew him, and as the family patriarch, he always wanted to make sure everyone was okay.
For over two decades, Don met with his buddies for morning coffee at McDonalds, and for Saturday breakfasts at Village Inn where together they solved world problems. If only their wisdom could be heard and taken seriously.
After he retired from the Air Force, Don worked as a machine shop supervisor at Digital Equipment Corporation, then after retiring from there he worked in two local machine shops. He spent his spare time puttering in his fully equipped basement machine shop and until his mid-80s Don repaired medical equipment for a local hospital. His gifted hands were always creating something. Even his miniature machines and gizmos were amazing contraptions.
Don was known for his dry sense of humor and quick wit. He entertained without hurting others. A staff member at the facility where he spent his last days recently said she had enjoyed long conversations with him and he was very much a philosopher.
Aside from politics, Don was non-judgmental. Skin color, religious persuasion, sexual orientation, or social position didn’t matter. He had a kind heart, assisted people in need, and neighbors always had their driveways plowed.
Travel was of no interest because he said he’d gotten his fill in the military. He’d rather putter in his shop or read a book. He refused to waste his time playing games. If whatever he set his hand to didn’t have a constructive purpose, forget it. He did, however, enjoy folding laundry in his later years and creating perfect stacks. After all, that project had purpose.
As a married couple, Claudia shared that their best times were working together on home projects. She said he moved walls around like other people moved furniture, however, the one major glitch was hanging wallpaper. She finally came to the conclusion, for the sake of their marriage, it was better not to ask for his help.
Don didn’t escape tragedy and heartbreak, which instilled a compassion for others. His young son, Donald David Stafford Jr., died suddenly in 1967 from a freak accident, his beloved wife Ginger died in 1981 from a virus, and his daughter Linda Quinn died in 2020 after a long battle with cancer.
Don is survived by:
Claudia Stafford, spouse, Colorado Springs, CO
Charlotte Wixson (Steve), daughter, Ft. Collins, CO
Laura (Loree) Ewald (Allen), daughter, Colorado Springs, CO
Deborah Ettelt (Karsten), daughter, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Kenneth Woodward, stepson, Germantown, MD
Donald Hight, Allison Morrison, Allen Ewald Jr., Colorado Springs, CO
Kevin and Matthew Wixson, Ft. Collins, CO
Kimberly Allred, New Port Richey, FL
Sean Quinn, Colorado Springs, CO
Savannah Ettelt, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Dylan Hight, Colorado Springs, CO
Luke, John and Mitchell Allred, New Port Richey, FL
Don is predeceased by:
Virginia Danforth Stafford, wife
Donald David Stafford, Jr, son
Linda Quinn, daughter
George Stafford, father
Charlotte Stafford, mother
Robert Stafford, brother
Murial Fallows, sister
George Stafford, brother
Don was a special man to many and the world is a better place for him having been a part. We’ll miss him and share his funny stories for years to come.
A private burial will be held at a future date. At this time no local memorial service is planned.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity.
Loree Ewald, daughter
It always amazed me what my Dad could do. He was always building something. A shop area, a family room, built in book cases/audio center, sewing room for my mom (which was later converted to an office area for Claudia). I remember growing up feeling safe and secure, and never wanting for anything. He did so much for his family and friends I can’t begin to list them. He was always there for me when I needed him, gave good advice when I asked for it, just listened when I needed an ear. He was strict when we needed it, and it made me the person I am today. Dad, I love you more than you will ever know. I am so blessed to have had you as my father. I will think of you every day for the rest of my life. I had the best parents on the planet for sure ! All my love, Loree
Steve Hobart, friend
His ability for critical thinking and problem solving. His craftsmanship with his hands and his attention to small details. My dad often commented on how fast your dad was learning to be a skilled machinist. His sense of humor and ability to relate that humor to everyday events. He could always say something that would make me laugh.
He always took the time to talk to me no matter what. He provided guidance and direction when I needed it most. Except when he told me I should be joining the Air Force, ha, ha, ha. Fly Navy. Sometimes he felt like a brother and sometimes like a dad to me.
Kenneth Woodward, stepson
This afternoon I visited the US Air Force Memorial as I mourned the death of my step-father Don Stafford, who died this morning. The arcing steel spires brought comfort as I considered his freedom from the dementia that closed in over his last months and days.
Following a distinguished career in the Air Force, he put his extensive mechanical skills to work on computer hardware to skateboard gimbals. There was not a piece of metal or wood that he could not turn into a work of art, whether a practical solution or merely a fun gizmo.
Husband to my Mom for 39 years and father to his daughters and my sister; he cared for them all. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with friends and early morning coffee with the retired guys that gathered each morning at McDonald's.
Two years ago I went to Colorado Springs with the intent of spending time with him, and was not disappointed. Rest in Peace Don Stafford