Donald M. Stafford

September 4, 2020
Donald M. Stafford

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Beloved husband, father, PaPa & friend, passed away Sept. 4, 2020. Don was born Jan. 4, 1946 in Pearisburg, VA. The youngest of 4 brothers, Don graduated in 1964 from Giles H.S. In March of 1965, as Don liked to tell it, he was dropped off in front of the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprenticeship Dormitory by his mother and brother Ted, with only a suitcase in his hand. Graduating in 1969, Don went on to become a Craft Instructor in X-18 welding department, where he was a friend & mentor to many young apprentices. Retiring after 41 years, a Master Shipbuilder he settled in Williamsburg. Don’s blood always ran Ford blue. He owned and maintained many classic cars, including a ’55 Crown Victoria, ’57 Sedan Delivery & ’57 Ranchero. His favorite being his 1967 GT Fastback Mustang in which he brought his son Jeff home from the hospital after his birth in 1968. Don is survived by his wife, Cheryl; sons, Jeff, Dave, and Scott; daughter, Kristie; 12 grandchildren; his brother, C. Edward Stafford; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Ray E. & Cree M. Stafford; brothers, Teddy, Ronald Ray; and nephew Ronald Ray, Jr. Due to health restrictions, funeral will be private.


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  • August 29, 2023
    John W. Hall says:
    Don was one of my Apprentice School Craft Instructors in the early 70’s. Don was not only a great instructor and Master Craftsman, he was also a great person. I was deeply saddened to hear the news of his passing. Don, and his fellow instructor, Russ South, made a positive impact on my life that I have never forgotten.

  • September 07, 2020
    BILL WALLACE says:
    I was shocked and so saddened to learn of Don's passing. He was a long time coworker and a great friend. I'll always remember the good memories from years past. Don was a fine man. Please accept my sincerest condolences.

  • September 09, 2020
    Hank Bowers says:
    I’ll always have fond memories of Don from my shipyard days. Prayers and most heartfelt condolences.

  • September 11, 2020
    Lynn Showaltr says:
    Cheryl and Family, I am so sorry for your loss. I will always remember Don for his gentle commanding manner that guided so many apprentices and welders on their path to success at NNS. May you find comfort, grace and peace knowing that he touched so many in such a positive and was a great role model of civility long before it became an desired and admired NNS trait.

  • September 11, 2020
    Lynn Showalter says:
    Cheryl and Family, I am sorry for your loss. I will always remember his gentle yet strong affirming and commanding manner that he applied with the apprentices and welders as he guided them on their career paths at NNS. Don displayed and practiced civility long before it became a desired and admired trait at NNS. May you find grace and peace knowing that he touched so many.