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Distinguished Alum Charles Stanford Dies

Jan 05, 2018

Charles StanfordLouisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Distinguished Alum Rev. Charles Leo Stanford Jr. (BD ’58) died Monday, December 18, 2017. He was 83 years old.

Stanford, who committed 60 years of service in ministry to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), served as pastor at New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Vidalia, Louisiana, Jones Memorial Presbyterian Church in Meridian, Mississippi, and at Okolona Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

In 1962, James Meredith became the first African American to gain admission to the University of Mississippi, which caused great controversy. Stanford was pastor at Jones Memorial at the time, and in response to the controversy, he preached a sermon titled “Love Disqualified,” based on I John 4:20. (“Those who say, ‘I love God’, but hate their brothers or sisters are liars, for those who hate a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”) This sermon is included in the book The Unsilent South: Prophetic Preaching in Racial Crisis (1965) by Donald Shriver.

He joined the staff of the Louisville (now Mid-Kentucky) Presbytery, becoming executive presbyter in 1982, and served there until his retirement in 1996. While executive presbyter, he was a member of a group led by then Louisville Seminary President John M. Mulder who advocated successfully for the PC(USA) to move its national offices to Louisville. Subsequently, Stanford was on the committee that worked with the architects and designers who joined two old buildings into one new building on the riverfront in downtown Louisville. After retirement, Stanford served as interim pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Mayfield, Kentucky, First Presbyterian Church of Caruthersville, Missouri, and First Presbyterian Church of Madisonville, Kentucky. Most recently he has served as a volunteer with the National Council of Presbyterian Men.

Stanford was named a Distinguished Alum by Louisville Seminary in 2016.

He survived by his wife, Susan Robertson Stanford; his children, Vicki George of Louisville, Deanna Yates of Rineyville, and Paul Stanford of Louisville; a stepson, Brian Stokes (Becca) of Garland, Utah; his sister Anne Duffy of Cincinnati; his brother, Mac Stanford of Tupelo, Mississippi; nine grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren. Two sisters predeceased him in death, Jane Thompson of Philadelphia, and Rose Fyffe of Birmingham.

A memorial will be held at Central Presbyterian Church (318 W Kentucky St, Louisville, KY 40203) on Saturday, January 6, with visitation at 10 a.m., services at 11 a.m., and a with lunch at 12 p.m.

Memorial gifts can be made to Central Presbyterian Church and/or Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
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