Melinda Stafford, 1944–2020

Melinda Stafford

MATADOR—Melinda Stafford, age 76, of Matador, passed away Sunday, December 6, 2020. A graveside service was held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, December 10, 2020, at the East Mound Cemetery in Matador. Arrangements are under the personal care of Moore-Rose Funeral Home of Floydada.

Melinda Jayne (Lindy) Armstrong Stafford was born on June 17, 1944, to Lewis and Loutitia Armstrong in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Hillcrest High School in Dallas and attended Texas Christian University. It was there at TCU that she met her “country boy,” Gale Stafford, and what a match they were. Lindy often told the story of her first visit to the Stafford family. Being a “city girl” Lindy was new to ranch life. Her first meal at the Staffords’ home consisted of the biggest platter of chicken fried steak she’d ever seen, it took a lot to feed those Stafford boys! She laughed and said that one can of tuna would feed her and her mom for three days! Being around three rowdy Stafford boys didn’t scare her away, though. She and Gale married on January 31, 1964.

After several years in East Texas, Gale and Lindy moved back to Matador with Wesley and David in 1973. Lindy fell in love with Matador and its people. She put down deep roots. It was at that point Lindy returned to school and graduated from Texas Tech. She began her teaching career at Motley County ISD in 1977.

Ms. Lindy, as she was lovingly known by her students, was passionate about education. She had high expectations for her students, but more important, in her kind but firm way, she taught the students to have high expectations for themselves. Even though she had a family at home that needed her, Lindy always made the time to work with any student and on the many school activities that fall in a teacher’s lap. She believed in the importance of UIL competitions and worked tirelessly to help the kids from Motley County have success. She spent late nights going over writing samples or listening to poems and prose being practiced. She knew the importance of giving kids a firm foundation before college and taught college-level English classes at night for local and surrounding area kids. Ms. Lindy was never too busy to tutor that student who needed just a little extra help or encouragement along the way. She knew how to instill the confidence it took to take that extra leap to help people reach their goals. As in any small school, Ms. Lindy made her share of nachos and hot dogs at concession stands, took gate money at ballgames, sponsored classes and field trips and most important, truly loved the kids of Motley County.

After ending her teaching career Lindy began her job as the transition coordinator for the Rolling Plains Special Education Coop. Her kind and gentle spirit continued to help those kids with the most special needs. She used her talents to help prepare area students for a successful life after high school graduation.

Lindy retired in 2014 after 34 years. Her service to the kids of Motley County didn’t stop. She willingly and graciously served on the Motley County School board for the past four years. Lindy was often the calm voice of reason on the board. Because of her vast knowledge and experience with the school system, fellow board members had a deep respect for her.

An active member of the Matador United Methodist Church, Lindy served on numerous committees and loved her church family.

Lindy loved to travel with friends and family. She had a special bond with her sisters-in-law, Julia and Diana, all wives of those Stafford boys, and spoke often of the yearly trips to Ruidoso they took together and all the fun they had. She loved the mountains of New Mexico and spent many summers with her family at her favorite destination, “the cabin” at Sipapu.

Nothing made Lindy prouder than the men and husbands her boys became. She and Gale instilled in them strong Christian values and morals, manners and the kind hearts that they both possessed. She knew they had made wise choices and are genuinely good men. Her four grandsons were the apple of her eye. She was immensely proud of the job that Wesley and Tammi and David and Cynthia have done in raising her grandsons. Lindy loved attending all their many activities and sporting events. Living close to the school, she enjoyed having an open house for Cameron and Andrew every day at lunch.

Lindy was preceded in death by her husband, Gale, in 2003, and by her parents.

She is survived by her two sons and their wives, Wesley and Tammi Stafford of Sweetwater and David and Cynthia Stafford of Roaring Springs; her four grandsons, whom she cherished, Connor Stafford of Mansfield, Cameron Stafford of Lubbock, Collin Stafford of College Station and Andrew Stafford of Roaring Springs; one brother and his wife, Andy and Barbara Armstrong; one brother-in-law, Richard Stafford; two sisters-in-law, Diana Stafford and Shirley Gilliam; and several nieces and nephews. Lindy is also survived by her special friend, Vann Francis of Matador, and all the friends and former students she meant so much to in Motley County.

Due to the Covid pandemic, no visitation or viewing will be held. A graveside service was held on Thursday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m., at East Mound Cemetery in Matador. Friends and family were asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 288, Matador TX 79244.

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