Mary Ellen Stafford, 77

Mary Ellen Stafford, 77

Mary Ellen Stafford, 77

SIERRA VISTA–Mary Ellen Stafford went home to be with her Heavenly Father after a long courageous battle with cancer on July 21, 2020.

Born May 17, 1943 in Bellville, Illinois, Mary was the daughter of Paul and Henrietta (Ratz) Blome.

Mary was a graduate of Bellville High school and a graduate of Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois with a degree in Mathematics. She went on to teach a year at the University and then went to work for the U.S. government as an analyst for 30 years. Her job found her traveling to many European countries. Mary enjoyed working with the troops.

Mary was attending a Test officer course at Ft. Knox, Kentucky when she met Les Stafford in 1982. Les was lucky enough to be seated next to Mary at the class. Mary, always cautious, had a habit of always carrying an umbrella wherever she went if it looked like rain. At lunch time, Les unfortunately stepped on her umbrella and she let him know in no uncertain terms that he had made a big mistake. “She chewed him out like he was a private”) Les decided he had better ask this lady out on a date. On their first date they went to see Tom Selleck in the High Road to China. After this, they decidedly enjoyed each other very much and dated for six years until Les asked her to marry him. They were married October 7, 1988 on the patio at the home Les owned in Ft Knox.

She finished out her career in Washington D.C. and they made the move to Arizona. They bought land in Sierra Vista and built their dream home. Mary and Les traveled extensively around the world. They loved the adventure and the people they met. Mary said of all the places she visited that Galapagos island was her favorite. On a cruise in 2013 they met Maykel Espinosa, who was a supervisor and hardworking man. After learning that his job was going to be terminated, Les asked him if he would like to come to the U.S. and work. Newly married, he asked his wife Jackie if she would like to move from Cuba to the U.S. and she said “yes” and a new extended family was created.

Mary enjoyed playing classical music on the piano and had a beautiful singing voice. She swam 50 laps every morning in their pool religiously. She enjoyed exercise class with her friends at SVUMC. An avid reader who could usually be found with a book in her hand. Her dogs and cat were incredibly special to her. She and Les were involved with Car Club, 3/4 Cav Association and their RV friends. Many evenings would find them playing cards with friends.

Mary was usually seen wearing beautiful hats which became her identity. The hats had been a favorite of her mother and she continued the tradition.

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”. This verse describes the courageous battle Mary fought for the last few years with her cancer. She was very loving and caring. She was a beautiful lady who is loved and admired by many and will be truly missed.

Survivors include her husband Les Stafford of Sierra Vista; one sister Jane (Ed) Hamby of Green Valley; one brother Paul (Marcia) Blome of Farmington, Missouri; daughter-in-law Sharon Stafford of Temple, Texas; one grandson Shawn Dillon of Temple, Texas; two granddaughters Cheyenne Marie (Robert) Burden at Whiteman AFB in Missouri and Tracy Ann (Josh) Jones; great grandson, Braxton Michael Stafford; special niece Mary Catherine (Carl) Kamora and numerous other nieces and nephews, special family Maykel (Jackie) Espinosa and their daughter Kimberly of Sierra Vista.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Anne Blome and stepson Sean Elliott Stafford.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for the American Cancer Association. Celebration of Life Services will be held at Veterans Chapel at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 24, 2020. Due to COVID 19 only immediate family members may attend.

Mary requested that guests look up in the chapel and see the beautiful painting of clouds that were done by her husband Les, and Harlan White.

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