John Marshall 'Jack' Stafford

John “Jack” Marshall Stafford, of Naples, FL and formerly of Edina, MN, passed away peacefully at home, on April 26, 2022, at age 85. He was preceded in death by his daughter Lisa Stafford French, parents Harriet Walker Abbott, William (Bill) H. Abbott, Marshall Stafford and Aunt Patricia Walker. A loving, devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend Jack will be remembered for his intellect, business savvy, humor and generosity. He had a love of sports, especially golf and tennis where he excelled, winning multiple Country Club tournaments in MN and FL. Jack loved throwing great parties and treating family and friends to great wine, food and entertaining stories. Jack graduated from St. Paul Academy in 1954 and attended Yale University, graduating in June of 1958. Upon his graduation, he immediately returned to St. Paul to marry the love of his life Ardietta (Deta) Henry Ford, a Wellesley alumna. Days later the couple relocated to CA where Jack reported to Camp Pendleton for duty as a Marine Corps Officer. Once Jack completed his military service in 1960, the couple moved to the Chicago area where Jack launched a highly successful business career that began at Leo Burnett, where he remained from 1960 – 1972. During that time, he advanced to Senior Vice President, Account Supervisor. In 1972, Jack became the VP of Marketing for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in Louisville, KY, where he remained until 1975 when he was hired by Green Giant in MN as Senior Vice President. In 1979, Jack became the COO of Green Giant and upon the company’s acquisition by Pillsbury became an Executive VP at Pillsbury from 1979 – 1984. Jack served as Chairman and CEO of Pillsbury from 1984 – 1988. In retirement, Jack served on the board of Cooper Industries, Michael Foods Inc., Minnetonka Cooperation, and Humanetics. He was also a noteworthy and avid investor. He and Deta have been generous supporters of The Salvation Army, The Mayo Clinic, AACRF, College Possible and The Philharmonic Center for the Arts. Jack is survived by his best friend and loving wife of 64 years Deta; his sons John (Beth) Stafford, Michael (Angela) Stafford; his grandsons Evan, Ryan and Connor Stafford; and his granddaughters, Heather and Anna Stafford. Jack’s family will remember him for his integrity, determination, art of conversation and love of compounded interest. He and Deta also provided their family the gift of world-wide travel, where many lasting memories were made. A quintessential people person with a knack for making friends, Jack will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him. A celebration of Jack’s life is being planned for late summer of 2022. Details to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Salvation Army are preferred.