Claire J. "Cy" Stafford

(July 16, 1898 - March 22, 1987)

The Lusk Herald
April 1, 1987

C. J. Stafford

C. J. "Cy" Stafford, 88, died March 22, 1987 in the Niobrara Memorial Hospital after a heart attack.

Services were Thursday, March 26 at Peet Mortuary Chapel with Rev. Nick Natelli officiating. Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery.

He was born in Sedan, KS on July 16, 1898, the second son of Elmer E. and Viola E. Stafford. He attended schools in Kansas and in Tulsa, OK, where the family moved in 1912 because his father was engaged in the oil drilling and producing business.

He attended Kemper Military School in Boonville, MO, in 1913-14. Afterward he studied geology at Kendall College, which later became Tulsa University. While there, he was captain of a student ROTC unit in 1917-18, and in 1922-23 he served in the Oklahoma National Guard.

Until 1927 he worked for several engineering and oil companies in Tulsa and was then transferred to the Wichita, KS district as geologist for the Kansas division of a subsidiary of Tidewater Oil. In 1936 he became an independent geologist and with several associates ran magnetic and gravity surveys in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska and in 1941 came to Lusk for a survey of eastern Wyoming and southwestern South Dakota.

He married Oleta Alberta Marple in Wichita in January 1942, and they established a home and his office in Lusk. Mrs. Stafford died April 22, 1974.

He is survived by one brother, Evart H. Stafford, Alvin, TX; a step-daughter, Wanda E. Yost, Portland, OR; two nephews and three nieces. Here for the funeral Thursday afternoon were: Mrs. Yost and sons, Mike and Matt; Charles Marple, a brother-in-law, and his wife from Bridger, MT; and Jay H. Stafford, a nephew, and his wife of Ponca City, OK.

Memorials may be made to the Heart Fund.

The Lusk Herald
April 1, 1987
Mr. Geologist' Stafford suffers fatal heart attack

By Gerald Bardo

C. J. "Cy" Stafford, 88, widely known petroleum geologist in Lusk for 45 years, died March 22 in the Niobrara Memorial Hospital after a heart attack.

He still maintained his office in Lusk at the time of his death, although he had been making plans to close it as his health worsened. He had called his long-time friend, George Dixon, after midnight two days before his death and asked to be taken to the hospital.

Stafford became an associate member of the American Association of petroleum Geologists in 1923 and an active member in 1927. He received his 50-year pin and emeritus membership in 1977. He also held membership in geological societies and the Society of Exploration Geophysics in four states.

As a well-site geologist he worked at more than 400 wells in the Midcontinent and Rocky Mountain region, and as a consultant he is credited with the discovery of several pools of oil and gas. During World War II he conducted an extensive survey for the U.S. Bureau of Mines along the Hartville Uplift between Guernsey and Lusk, searching for additional iron ore deposits and other materials needed in the war effort.

Of conservative political philosophy, Stafford was ever the vocal, often strident champion of the oil industry and frugal government. Though a loner socially, he was forever in conversation up and down Main Street when not "sitting on a well."

A visit to his office almost always resulted in a lesson in geology for the uninformed. He made oil geology come alive. Good town citizen that he was, his volunteer services were always available in the selection of town water well sites. Ranchers, too, came to him. A small group of friends did manage to get him to an informal party on his 80th birthday.

There was another side of "C. J., that only intimate friends really know - his prized raspberry patch at the back of his home, for example. For the most part, his neighbors were widows, and in the later years especially after his wife's death, he found comfort in their concern for him. Some time ago he gave Grace Wilson a key to his house, and more recently asked her to phone every morning at 8 to make sure he was up and around.

James E. Barrett, former Lusk attorney and now judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Cheyenne, wrote since learning of Stafford's death, "Cy Stafford's knowledge of geology and its relevance to Niobrara County was such that he literally "sold" producers and drillers on exploration projects in the county which resulted in the influx of millions of dollars untold numbers of drilling and exploration employees with tremendous payrolls and all the activity attendant with such activity. I do not believe that there has been another person to equal the amount of business he generated in and for the benefit of Niobrara County."

A number of people involved with oil activity were here form Denver and Casper to pay tribute to Stafford at his funeral Thursday, March 26.

Related Genealogy Entries: 'Claire J. Stafford'

Oleta Alberta Stafford (March 17, 1911 - April 22, 1974)

Related Historical Entries: 'Claire J. Stafford'

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