Rendell Arnold Stafford was born at the Hobart General Hospital on May 14, 1952 to Paul Durwood and Margetta Blanche (Newton ) Stafford. When he and Mom were released from the hospital, he was taken home to Roosevelt, OK to join his sister, Sharilyn Dianne and brother, Edwin Dewayne.
Rendell attended Roosevelt Public Schools for his elementary through High School education as well as K-C-U-L-H-K (Kiowa County University of Life and Hard Knocks). One thing for sure, when in elementary school, Rendell had little to no excuses for being late to school as the home was directly west, across the street from “the new elementary school.” Memories shared by friends of Rendell’s Junior High and High School years best describe those years. Roger Beavers shared that Rendell and Dewayne were the first two children they met when his family moved to Roosevelt. Phillip Liles remembered that “Halloween and Fair Nights in Roosevelt was when the kids did the most they dared so as to not get caught.” Phillip further shared that he remembered riding the school bus and Rocky running down the road getting ready for basic combat training. Phillip says he remembered thinking, WHY??? 6 years later, “I, to, am running up and down the roads because my recruiter said, “Do or Die.”
In his Guestbook comments on the Funeral Home website, Phillip wrote:
”Rocky, the Mentor, on how to be resourceful, under the radar, and downright undetectable. We had FUN, and [made] memories for life. Each and every recounted story would result in breathless and tearful laughter. . . and I know that one day he will sneak this old Baptist a key to the Church of Christ hill’s back gate.”
Phillip also shared that “with a name like Rocky, he got a head start on making the scene. Rocky was as cool a Cat as any Daddy O. He denied no friend, no matter how square. He was color blind before color blind was cool. He was one of Mrs. Beavers’ favorites and never got a lick from Mr. Sims. He always looked good and never needed a haircut; I guess his Dad had something to do with that. He always wanted a Chevy Camaro; and a few years back he got a brand new one. He was so proud, and we were so happy for him.”
In addition to his school friends’ shared memories, Rocky’s Cousin, Kent Stafford, shared a couple of great tales, including this:
As far as stories, I will just share a couple. The first was when I was about 8 or 9 and he was probably a Junior or Senior, and he was driving. We had gone frog giggin’ a couple nights earlier and got a tow sack full of bull frogs for frog legs. We just threw the sack filled with frogs in the trunk of his ’69 Camaro. I think I was staying with them for a few days because Dad may have been in the hospital. A few days later, we went draggin’ Main after school and could not figure out what the awful smell was in his car. We finally tore out everything in the trunk and found two or three dead frogs over the wheel well.”
Oh, and as for the nickname of Rocky, his Aunt Marilyn understands that came about due to the popular TV cartoon show of those days, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Somehow, Rendell and Dewayne ended up being Roosevelt, OK’s resident Rocky and Bullwinkle. I am sure that any of you who knew these brothers during their teen years can imagine tall, lanky Dewayne as Bullwinkle to Rendell’s shorter statured Rocky; and could probably tell many tales of shenanigans they thought up and pulled off.
There are surely lots more teen year stories and adventures the resourceful young people and friends had, but life went on after Rocky graduated in 1971. Rocky did serve in the National Guard for several years, and that was when his job as cook led to a lifelong love of cooking both as a necessity and a hobby. Two of his favorite things to prepare were Ro-Tel Chicken Casserole, and he, along with Dewayne, continued their Father’s family Christmas tradition of making homemade Tamales.
After Rocky graduated he moved to the OKC area and had several jobs; but his corporate career as a Security Guard began at Presbyterian Hospital where he became good friends with the likes of Michael Weatherly, and where he met a cute nurse by the name of Terry Jean Dennis. He and Terry were married in August of 1980. To this union their daughter, Elizabeth Ashley was born on March 9, 1983 and son, Ryan Paul on May 22, 1985. Terry’s skills in nursing enabled her to work as a traveling nurse, and she eventually was hired as the Southwestern Oklahoma nursing manager for one of the large PPO Health Insurance companies. That led to their purchasing a home in Mt. View / Gotebo School District where Rocky volunteered much of his time with the School’s FFA Program and helping run the chain gang during the home football games. He also trained under his Dad to become a barber, and took over running the Elk Barber Shop in Hobart after his Dad had a dibilitating stroke. It was in Gotebo that Rocky was well known in the community for his prolific producing garden, so much so that many in the community were blessed with fresh vegetables on their tables throughout the Summer.
During their time in Gotebo, Rocky was also able to pursue his love of fishing at Tom Steed Resevoir and other secret fishing holes from his youth, and developed his love of hunting as well.
After another job change for Terry, they moved back to the OKC area where they both were employed at Baptist Integris. Rocky returned to work as a Security Guard and eventually worked as chauffeur for the Hospital Visitor Transportation Department.
After Terry’s death in November, 2004, Rocky continued to work in Visitor Transport and was introduced by a mutual friend to his precious and sweet wife, Revis Richert, also employed by the hospital. They were married on August 12, 2005 and were a perfect match for each other. Rocky’s favorite description of their friendship and marriage was that they were like peas and carrots. It was after their marriage that daughter Elizabeth had two precious boys, Beckett and Kendrick; thus granting Rocky and Revis the pride and joy of being Grandparents.
Another of Rocky and Revis’s mutual accomplishment was building their beautiful home in the Surrey Hills area of West OKC. And it is in their beautiful home that evidence of more of Rocky’s favorite past times can be seen – stained glass creations and hunting. Cousin, Kent Stafford, shared this special memory of one of their special hunting trips together:
“The last time Rocky was able to deer hunt with me, about November, 2018, out by Elk City, he shot a doe. We always took pictures or our deer, of course. When he got down on the ground with his doe for the customary photo, I reminded him that on Jimmy Houston’s TV show Jimmy would always kiss the fish he caught and challenged Rocky to kiss his doe. So, Rocky got down on the ground and let me get a picture of him kissing that dead doe. I hope Revis includes that photo in a video memorial.”
Also, in recent years, and since they moved to Surrey Hills, we started spending more time together, Rocky would always end our conversations by simply saying, “Love you Cuz.” Even after his health declined, he and Revis would knit caps for cancer patients and would bring food and money to the church for our Navajo Nation Mission Efforts. Rocky would always want me to take his deer meat to church for a hamburger feed. I don’t know for sure if we ever did that, but he certainly wanted to donate for that. You know we share the same birthday, but 8 years apart. Rocky was more like an uncle to me as a young child and more like a brother I never had as an adult. I’m really going to miss him.”
After his extended health challenges over the past 3-4 years, Rocky spent some time in Rehab to build up his strength and endurance, but his health challenges were more than he could manage at home and he had to go long-term nursing care. After a 3 ½ day hospitalization around 3/19, he was placed in Hospice Care where he slipped into a coma until his peaceful passing on March 26, 2022.
Rocky was preceded in death by his parents, Durwood and Margetta Stafford, and Great Nephew Wesley Yandell. He is survived by his wife, Revis Richert Stafford, of the home, daughter, Elizabeth Shelton and Grandsons Beckett and Kendrick of Littleton, CO, Son, Ryan Stafford of Atlanta, GA, sister, Sharilyn Dianne (Bruce) Yandell of Meredian, OK, brother, Edwin Dewayne (Julia) Stafford of Edmond, OK, his Mother-in-law, Verla Richert and Dale Wythe of Oklahoma City, Sister-in-law, Janis (Gary) Nelsen, Oklahoma City, Aunt Marilyn (James) Buchanan of Edmond, OK, Aunt Phyllis Stafford Stockton of Ft. Cobb, OK, and Aunt Kate Roberts Stafford of Katy, TX, a host of cousins, extended family and dear friends.
We will love and miss you, Rocky; but, we will run our race to our finish line and look forward to that time we meet again When We All Get To Heaven.
“When someone you love becomes a Memory,
That Memory becomes a Treasure.”
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Tipton Children’s Home, 1000 N Broadway Ave, Tipton, OK 73570 and Westview Boys Home, 120 W Broadway St, Hollis, OK 73550 or do a “Pay It Forward” for someone you know who might need some help and encouragement.