HALLSVILLE — Hallsville veteran Sidney “Sid” Stafford stepped out his door Thursday afternoon as honks and shouts filled his street from well wishers honoring his 101st birthday with a drive by birthday parade.
Stafford’s daughter Brenda Barth joined him in the driveway to wave back to the well wishers, church members and friends as they drove by waving balloons, signs and shouting, “Happy Birthday!”
Staffard once had a goal to reach 100 years old, which he met this time last year, so he’s now moved his new goal to reaching 102 years old.
“I’ve made it to 100 years old by trusting in the Lord,” Stafford said during his birthday party with friends and family in Hallsville last year. “I’ve been shot, shot at and shipwrecked but the Lord has brought me through it all.”
Born on July 30, 1919, Stafford was the oldest of three children and has outlived both his brother and sister. He’s seen a lot of things in his 101 years, including a war, the birth of his three daughters, eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, the passing of his soulmate earlier this year — his wife of 67 years, Nitalene Stafford, and now a global pandemic.
“I’ve seen a lot of change in 100 years, from covered wagons to the moon and beyond,” he said last year. “I spent three and a half years overseas during World War II.”
Besides family, friends and faith in God, Stafford’s military service is another topic near and dear to his heart, especially the friends he made and lost during his time serving in the 755th tank battalion of the U.S. Army.
“He served in Italy and North Africa during the war,” his daughter Beth Edwards previously said of her father. “He and his friend T.C. Christian served together the whole time during the war.”
Nowadays, Stafford still lives on his own and spends as much of his free time as possible enjoying family, friends and serving the Lord through as a decades long member at First Baptist Church in Hallsville.