Surrounded by his family, Jessie Junior "J.J." Stanford (89) went to be with his Lord the afternoon of February 13, 2016. J.J. was born to Jessie Homer and Rosie Mae Fowler Stanford on December 5, 1926. He met the love of his life, Doris Gregory Stanford, during a baseball game at the Hamlin Rock Field. They were married in Rotan on March 25, 1948 and shared 46 years of marriage before her passing.
J.J. is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Doris, sister Betty Stanford, brother Lyndle and his wife Jeanie Stanford, and sister Imogene and her husband Oscar Head. Veldean Littlejohn was a special friend who also preceded him in death. His survivors include his son Charles Zane Stanford and his wife Sharon, and three daughters: Sandra Gruben and her husband Kenneth, Carla Olney and her husband Jerry, and Carolyn Clawson and her husband James, all of Hamlin. He is also survived by ten grandchildren: Shannon and Casey Wester, Melanie and Michael Murphy, J.J. and Tammy Clawson, Michelle and Bronc Jones, Kendra Gruben, Greg and Angela Stanford, James and Lacey Clawson, Don and Jebby Clawson, Kendon and Kursten Gruben, and Kendi and Chris Kimball. Surviving great grandchildren include Jakob, Shelby and Riley; Sterling and Spencer; Alyssa, Jessica, and Caitlyn; Hannah; Cashley and Callan; Madison and Madalyn; Ian, Kinzlee, and Parker; Cade and Camey; Aspen; and twins due in August that he was so excited about.
After graduating from Rotan High School, he joined the United States Army to serve his country during World War II. After returning from the war, J.J. and Doris married, and they resided in Rotan where he sold their only family car to purchase a diner. Owning the diner made it difficult to make ends meet, so they walked away from it and moved to Neinda to help his father-in-law, Charlie Gregory, farm. Due to drought, they could barely make a living so they moved to Terminal, Texas in 1952. J.J. got a job delivering milk door-to-door for Foremost Dairy, and his young family lived in Army barracks. When times improved, they moved home to Neinda where J.J. farmed cotton all day and walked to the Neinda Gin, where he eventually served on the Board of Directors, to gin cotton at night. To supplement their living, J.J. also worked a little while at the Hamlin Cotton Compress. He raised cattle and spent 60 plus years farming cotton, except the one year he planted everything in milo. It was a bumper crop, but his heart was in cotton planting.
J.J. was a devoted member of Neinda Baptist Church where he served as Sunday school superintendent and deacon. He also gave the welcome/devotional during Sunday morning services. He was the last deacon to serve at Neinda Baptist Church when the church closed its doors in 1998. He moved his membership to First Baptist Church in Hamlin where he served as deacon, continued the Sunday school devotionals, and participated as a nominating committee member. Although J.J. was a member of First Baptist, he also gave faithfully to Central Baptist Church in Hamlin and served as honorary deacon.
When he wasn't working or going to church, J.J. spent his time with his family attending birthday parties, Pied Piper football games, baseball games, and band concerts. If a loved one was participating in an event, he was there to show his love and support. Many evenings you could find him sitting in his recliner or at his kitchen bar watching old westerns on television or cheering on the Texas Rangers. He was able to attend one last Texas Rangers game at the Ballpark in Arlington last July where he had a big time celebrating his daughters' birthdays. The grandkids and great grandkids have fond memories of him giving out an occasional dollar "just because" or letting them ride on his riding lawnmower. He was always generous with his love and support.
Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 3:00 PM with burial to follow at the Neinda Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 to 7:30 on Wednesday at Adams-Foster-Ray Funeral Home in Hamlin. The family wishes to express thanks to the doctors, nurses, and staff of Hamlin Memorial Hospital as well as nurses from Hospice of the Big Country. A special thanks to Sue Willis and Tina Alaniz who loved and cared for him during his last days at home. Memorials and donations may be made to the Neinda Cemetery Association.