A spiritual leader, teacher and friend for students, faculty and alumni, Dr. Stafford North passed away on July 25th at 90 years old.
Receiving his bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University in 1950, North decided to pursue his master’s degree at Louisiana State University. He graduated in 1952 and then went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Florida in 1957. Later in his career, North was elected into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 1997.
North’s work at Oklahoma Christian University began in 1952. Throughout his 68 years at Oklahoma Christian North worked as a professor, vice president, dean and creative producer.
North’s passion for Oklahoma Christian and its students was unwavering. Fellow Bible professor and friend Kent Hartman praised North’s heart for others and passion for faith.
“He wanted people to know about God. It kept him driven,” Hartman said. “When we were in Australia he did seminars and a book on how to lead people to faith and Jesus. He was a writer, a teacher, administrator, an elder at the church and he and his wife started the women’s prison ministry at Memorial Road Church of Christ. He was just an amazing guy.”
To Lynn and Joy McMillon, North was more than a coworker; to them, he was a longtime friend. They described how they saw North touch the people around him and how passionate he was about his faith.
“For the 61 years Joy and I have known Stafford since we were first freshmen, he has been a powerful example of many good qualities,” Lynn said. “His commitment to the Lord and his church are undeniable. Stafford loved the Bible and God’s people with fervor and looked for every opportunity to teach scripture to others. His signature phrase, ‘Be There,’ showed his burning desire to go to heaven and his hope for everybody else to go as well. On a personal level, Stafford had a great sense of humor and loved to have fun doing skits and performing. He had a way of making all of us have fun with him. His influence will be felt on us and countless others for a long time. Thank you, Stafford, for all the love you gave to each one of us. For that we are eternally grateful.”
John deSteiguer, president of Oklahoma Christian University said one of his fondest memories of North was when the school was able to dedicate a fountain to the North family for all of their hard work and dedication towards making the school a better place.
“I wonder how many times over the years Dr. Stafford North delivered his famous ‘Be There.’ devotional in chapel and other campus settings? This is one among hundreds of great memories I know faculty, staff, alumni and others have been thinking about and will hold onto since hearing of Stafford’s passing. What a legacy. Professor, dean, executive vice president, creative producer, performer – Stafford did it all for Oklahoma Christian.
Generous donors gave funds to refurbish the quad fountain in honor of Stafford and Jo Anne. North Crossing will be the name for this special spot. Last Wednesday, we broke ground on the project. We also dedicated a portion of The Branch as Jo Anne’s Kitchen to specifically honor Jo Anne. She served countless wonderful meals to OC students over the years. Stafford and Jo Anne were both on campus with us and all of their children for the ceremonies. I’ve attached some pictures of the event.
I’m so grateful to Stafford, Jo Anne and the entire North family for the ways they have so consistently and lovingly poured their lives into our OC home. What a blessing, and I’m so thrilled we were able to share the fountain groundbreaking and the unveiling of Jo Anne’s Kitchen with Stafford last week.”