PERU — Muriel R. Stafford, 88, of Apple Valley Drive, Peru and formerly of Keeseville Country Gardens, passed away quietly, Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Meadowbrook Healthcare in Plattsburgh.
A long-time resident of the Town of Peru, Muriel is survived by her three sons, James (Judy) of Peru, David (Caroline) of Rapid City, S.D., and Allan of Peru; brothers, Robert (Mary) Rennell of Port Kent, Carlton (Alberta) Rennell of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Donald (Mary) of St. Petersburg, Fla. and Port Kent. She will be missed by her seven grandchildren, Joanne Stafford Sorrell (Matt), Rebecca Stafford Rahn (Andrew), Beth Stafford Davis (Nathan), Jeanette Stafford Andrews (Pete), John N. Stafford, Michael L. Stafford (companion Jessica) and Rachel Anne Stafford; her two great- grandchildren, Erik and Amelia Davis, and step-great-grandson Jacob Sorrell. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Richard H. Stafford; daughter-in-law, Joanne W. Stafford, as well as her brother and sister-in-law, Dewey and Adelaide Rennell; sister, Mary McMahon; sisters-in-law, Ruth Rennell and Mary Lou Rennell; and brother-in-law, Lawrence McMahon.
Muriel Elizabeth Rennell was born June 13, 1924 in Plattsburgh, the eldest daughter of Mildred (York) and Dewey Rennell. After attending elementary school in Port Kent, she graduated from Keeseville High School and attended Plattsburgh Business Institute.
She married Richard H. Stafford, August 20, 1944 in Keeseville. They began their life together raising three sons, and helping keep the family dairy farm running smoothly. Whenever a part for a machine or piece of equipment was needed, she was conscripted to make the run to Plattsburgh!
Muriel was an active member of The Community Church of Peru, serving on almost every committee at one time or another. She was elected an Elder, and served in many leadership roles in the Ladies Guild of the church. She ran the first clothing bank for the Peru Elementary School from one of the extra rooms of the farmhouse and continued this effort for many years. Muriel participated in the initiation of The Beaumont Health Care Center which served Peru and neighboring towns. She was also a very dedicated volunteer for the Peru Republican Committee, assisting with fund raising, phone calling and anything else that needed doing. She took great pride in assisting Senator Ron Stafford in his many campaigns. As a member of the Eastern Star she was an active participant in many activities and fund raising events. She and Richard were also active in the Congregational Church in St. Petersburg, Fla. They were members of the church choirs in Peru and St. Petersburg, FL most of their married life. Muriel had "a way" with children, and the Stafford home was a gathering place for neighbors and friends throughout the boys' school years. The smell of fresh-baked cookies often met you as you came in the door. Her grandchildren remember her telling "Missy Mouse" stories at bedtime, which often included a moral lesson from the day's activities. She will also be fondly remembered by the Fresh Air program children the family hosted, and particularly by her German "son", Hans Hermann Gatzemeier and his family of Bad Harzburg, Germany.
During her retirement years, she assisted the Ernst family in St. Petersburg, Fla., by staying with their children. She remained in contact with them until her death. In addition, she was a volunteer grandparent at a St. Petersburg elementary school where she read to, and listened to the children read.
There will be no public calling hours. A memorial service will be held at 11 A.M. Saturday, April 27, at The Community Church of Peru with Rev. Robert E. Svenson, pastor, officiating. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family in God's Acre Cemetery in Peru.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice or the Capital Fund Drive of The Community Church of Peru for the Fellowship Center roof replacement project.
Arrangements are in the care of the Hamilton Funeral Home, 294 Mannix Road, Peru.