Cover photo for Mary Elizabeth (Mary Beth) Stafford's Obituary
Mary Elizabeth (Mary Beth) Stafford Profile Photo
1926 Mary 2024

Mary Elizabeth (Mary Beth) Stafford

November 22, 1926 — March 12, 2024

Spring, TX

Mary Elizabeth (Mary Beth) Daley Stafford, 97, was born in Port Arthur, Texas on November 22, 1926, and lived the majority of her life there.   Mary Beth graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1944.  She entered into eternal rest on March 12, 2024, in Spring, Texas.

 She attended Port Arthur College and then went to work for Texaco and worked on Texaco Island for about ten years.  She was the secretary for Janis Joplin’s father for much of this time.   She was also very active in the Port Arthur Little Theater for many years.  Mary Beth was active in Beta Sigma Phi in both Port Arthur and Groves.   Mary Beth married Herbert (Herb) James Stafford, Jr. on December 13, 1952.  She became mother to Herbert James (Jim) Stafford III in 1955 and Marian Kay Stafford in 1958.

 Herb and Mary Beth opened Stafford’s Nursery in 1959 and operated the nursery for almost 40 years before retiring in 1996.  The nursery was started due to Mary Beth’s love for African Violets, and from 1959 until 1972, Mary Beth operated it full time while Herb was working at Jones and Laughlin Steel company.  Their specialty was roses, and they both became Certified Rosarians and received the Bronze Service Award from the American Rose Society.   For about 15 years, they also operated a commercial greenhouse tomato operation, supplying local grocery stores with tomatoes year-round.   In addition, they operated an antiques store for about 20 years at their nursery site, out of a log cabin that Herb built by hand. Both were active in the Texas Nursery Association and held various local and area offices and enjoyed traveling to Nursery Conventions all over the world.

 After retirement from the Nursery, she and Herb were active for many years in the local chapter of the Audubon Society, where they enjoyed bird watching, especially at Sabine Woods.  She was a very active volunteer, including working as a docent for the McFadden Ward House in Beaumont and The Mission’s Attic of the United Board of Missions in Port Arthur, where she was known as the “Holiday Lady”.   She was also a board member of the United Board of Missions.   She also was very active, and the first female Administrative Board Chairperson, at First United Methodist Church of Groves, where she attended for almost 70 years and served on various committees.

 Even though she was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, she and Herb became loyal PN-G fans when their children entered elementary school in Groves, and they were season ticket holders to PN-G football games for almost 60 years.

 After Herb’s passing in 2018 Mary Beth spent four years at Rose place Senior Living in Port Arthur before moving to Avanti Senior Living at Augusta Pines in Spring, Texas in 2022.

 Mary Beth was preceded in death by her husband, Herb Stafford, parents, Charles and Katharine Daley, and grandson, Robert Stafford.  She is survived by a son, Herbert James (Jim) Stafford III (Patty) of North Augusta, South Carolina and a daughter, Marian Ruiz (Michael) of Spring, Texas.  Survivor also include grandsons, William Stafford (Megan) of North Augusta, South Carolina; Matthew LeBlanc (Callie) of Spring Texas; Vincent Ruiz of Cupertino, California; Dominic Ruiz of Tucson, Arizona; Stephen Heaton (Francela) of Yuma, Arizona; and granddaughter, Darionne Williams (Spencer) of Tomball, Texas.   Great grandchildren include Paxton, Connor and Natalie Stafford of North Augusta, South Carolina; Ashton and Everett LeBlanc of Spring, Texas; James, Michael, and Evelyn Williams of Tomball, Texas; and Bradlee and Olivia Heaton of Yuma, Arizona.


Her service will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with visitation at 1:00 p.m. and service at 2:00 p.m. at Levingston Funeral Home in Groves, TX with burial to follow at Oak Bluff Cemetery in Port Neches, TX.


In lieu of flowers, any donations in her memory may be made to First United Methodist Church in Groves, 6501 Washington St., Groves, Texas 77651, (409)-962-1076.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Elizabeth (Mary Beth) Stafford, please visit our flower store.


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