Theodore A. Stafford Jr. was born August 17, 1942, to Theodore and Helen Stafford. He grew up in Floral Park, Long Island and spent summers in Sag Harbor, New York, where he met his future wife, Frances Trunzo. He graduated from St. Paul’s Preparatory School in Garden City, New York. Upon graduation he chose to enlist in the Navy, where he served from 1961 to 1967. After graduating from the Naval communications school, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Rogers, a destroyer, as a radioman first-class. His tour on the Rogers was extended because of the initiation of the Vietnam War. Upon completion of his tour of duty in the Navy, he returned to Sag Harbor and married his childhood sweetheart, Frances, with whom he raised four children.
Ted immediately began volunteering for the Sag Harbor Fire Department, where he served for 48 years. He held various positions, which included captain of the Phoenix Hook & Ladder Company, treasurer, warden, dispatcher, and head of the honor guard. Over the many years he served, he was a highly active and respected member.
On the day of his death, May 2, 2016, Ted attended the monthly fire department meeting. That evening, the department called-out a medivac landing for an 11-month-old infant who was being airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital after suffering massive injuries from a fall. Ted handled dispatch during the emergency situation. Shortly after the child was in safe hands, Ted suffered cardiac arrest.
Ted was a true community man who was devoted to both his family and his career. He was a police officer of Southampton Town, New York, for 20 years. During that time he served as president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association for 12 years. He was revered in his position and took great care of the men and women of his union. As a family man, Ted and his wife Fran lovingly raised four children, whom they supported unconditionally. In his later years, Ted was very proud of his six grandchildren, who each held a special place in his heart. His fondest moments were at their softball and baseball games, where he took great pleasure in keeping the scorebooks and cheering them on. As a proud fireman, it gave him joy to have his eldest son, nephew, and two grandsons become members of the fire department.
He is deeply missed by his four children, John Stafford, Andrea McAree, Maureen Stafford, and Ted Stafford III; his two sisters, Helen Diakun and Priscilla Stafford; his six grandchildren, Allison, Laura, Melanie, RJ, Josh, and Miranda; numerous extended family, friends; and the community.