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Legacy Award: Norths point people in right direction

Stafford and Joanne North’s legacy to their family and to Oklahoma Christian can be summed up in two words:

Be There.

The “there” is heaven, of course, and it’s where they want all of us to be.

When the Norths receive the Legacy Award at Homecoming, they’ll be pleased about the emphasis on their “forever together” goal, though they’d rather not have the attention, according to daughter Susan North Monan (85).

“They don’t want their own legacy. They want nothing more than the kingdom of God to grow and for Christians to be strong in their faith through service,” Susan said.

The North family, including all four kids and their spouses – David (79) and Beverly (Hobson 79) North, Julie (81) and Steve Anderson, Susan and Chuck Monan and Linda (81) and Mike (80) Parker – the 10 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren (with one to come!), have fortified the “Be There” mantra with a thumbs-up sign and intentional emphasis at every family gathering.

“Dad and Mom have always worked on things that were important to them. Those things have always been God, the church, our family and OC,” said David, who was born in Bartlesville before the campus moved from there to Oklahoma City.

In those Bartlesville days, Stafford was a speech teacher, but his duties steadily grew to match his energy.

He was OC’s longtime executive vice president and chief academic officer. He helped shape policy, academic quality, and spiritual integrity and steadfastness, all with a particular knack for technology.

We remember the innovative, nationally-recognized dial access tape system in the 60s, which evolved to overhead projectors, then PowerPoint slides and the Internet.

Daughter Linda echoes her siblings’ assessment of their dad’s lifelong work of building a legacy with whole-hearted dedication.

“Dad is 100 percent all-in for God. No wavering, no equivocation. You know he will always show up, always be kind, always do right. He will never cheat, never lie, never go behind your back. He’s the one who will always make the sacrifice and always give his best,” Linda said. “He has many unique talents, but we are inspired most by the way his life paints such a clear picture of the God he serves with his whole heart.”

The kids agree that their mom has been a steadfast co-pilot. Joanne’s tireless work with Stepping Stones and OCWA, along with hosting students in their home and teaching countless Bible classes, set an example for subsequent generations.

The North kids remember that in the early days of the Oklahoma City campus, their Dad spent Saturday morning at the office. There was so much to do. He took on extra assignments – teaching tennis, directing plays and the Chorale, writing and directing Songs America Sings, overseeing the development and construction of the Mabee Learning Center and Enterprise Square, directing the lectureship (which he still does!), and traveling to speak and preach on behalf of Oklahoma Christian.

“At 82, he still teaches classes at OC, at church and is often on the road preaching and spreading God’s word and OC’s message all over the United States and the world,” said Julie Anderson, who has worked on campus for 25 years herself, serving in the Athletic Department.

There is still so much to do … so we can all Be There.

By Dawn Shelton (90)