Edward Peary Stafford, Jr., LTC, U.S. Army (Ret.) died on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, at his home in Marietta, Georgia. “Ted” Stafford was 74 years old. He passed away peacefully in the company of family and friends after a life time of robust good health was cut short by an intense and aggressive form ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”).
Ted Stafford was born during World War II into a Navy family on August 3, 1943. He was the first great-grandson of polar explorer, Admiral Robert E. Peary, and his father overseas first learned of his birth from an announcement in Time Magazine’s “People” column. He graduated from high school at St. John’s Military Academy in Washington, D.C, then attended Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, where he was active in ROTC. Upon graduation with a B.A. in History in 1966 he took a Regular Army commission as an Armor Branch officer. He served for 26 years – including one tour in Viet Nam, during which he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for bravery. While on active duty, he earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Marymount College. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in June, 1994.
Ted Stafford made his home in Marietta, GA. He was married in 1977 to Rebecca Bell of Athens, GA, who survives him. He is survived by their three children, daughters Josephine Stafford Ginepri and Shepard Peary Stafford, and son Edward Peary Stafford, III. He is survived by one granddaughter, Jaiden Leonard-Stafford, three brothers and a sister, and numerous cousins, in-laws, and friends. All who knew him loved him and are deeply saddened at his passing.
After retiring from the Army, Ted refused to quit working. He claimed no interest in “sitting around and listening to my arteries hardening.” His favorite job may have been his most recent one. For the last six years of his life he worked at the Kennesaw State University Department of Public Safety. There Ted gave his all, and co-workers and associates became friends and admirers.
Ted never shrank from a challenge, including the final one. He met them head on, faced them with dignity and grace, and soldiered on through the slights and adversities of life with good humor, honor, and optimism tempered by reality. He never gave up on those he loved. He was an accepting, undemanding family man and friend, who loved one and all without exception. He was witty and insightful; he could turn a phrase with the best – often a very “colorful” one. He was observant, caring and, above all, loyal. Ted will always be a presence to those who knew him. His legacy is the standard of steadfastness, forgiveness and compassion that serves as an example to us all.
A full military ceremony will be held for Ted Stafford at Noon, Monday, November 20, 2017, at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made “in memory of Ted Stafford” at Giving.Kennesaw@edu.