Joe R. Stafford, 71, of Valdese, NC died Monday, March 14, 2011 at his residence. Born September 26, 1939 in Mitchell County, NC, he was a son of the late Thomas Stafford and Lucille Pittman Stafford. Joe was a member and Deacon at Lakeview Baptist Church. He worked as a butcher at Childers Market for over 20 years, and then retired from Food Lion.He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Edith Stafford of Valdese; mother-in-law, Mildred Ellis of Hickory; a brother and his wife, Don and Mary Stafford of Spruce Pine; sister-in-law and her husband, Linda and Daniel Briggs of Hickory; a brother-in-law, Larry Ellis of Morganton; niece and her husband, Sharon and Richard Bumgarner, and nephew, Eric Briggs, all of Hickory; a family friend, Kellie Stroup of Morganton; and Joe’s canine companion, Bruno.In addition to his parents, Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Lora Ellis Stafford; and a brother, Virgil Stafford.Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, March 17, 2011 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with Rev. Patrick Mourglea officiating. Burial will follow at Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 222 South Church St., Suite 336M, Charlotte, NC 28202.

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