John Rogers Stafford of Essex Fells, N.J., and Captiva Island, Fla., died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Friday, April 18, 2014. He was 76.
Born in Harrisburg, Penn., Mr. Stafford was a longtime resident of Essex Fells and Captiva Island since 1976.
John R. Stafford served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Office of Wyeth (formerly American Home Products Corporation) from 1986 to 2001 and continued as Chairman of the Board until his retirement in December, 2002. Mr. Stafford joined Wyeth in 1970 as General Counsel. He was elected a Vice President in 1972, a Senior Vice President in 1977, Executive Vice President and a Director in 1980, and President in 1981. During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Stafford led the company in growth from $4.9 billion annual net revenue to $14.6 billion. He streamlined the company to focus on its pharmaceutical business, dramatically increasing its investment in pharmaceutical research and development and transforming it into one of the leading innovation-based companies in the industry.
Mr. Stafford was a 1959 graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn., where he played football and lacrosse. He received his LL.B. with distinction at The George Washington University Law School where he served as Editor-in-Chief of The Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. From 1962 through 1966, Mr. Stafford practiced with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. From 1966 through 1970, he was a member of the legal staff of Hoffmann-La Roche, Nutley, New Jersey. In 1991, Mr. Stafford received an honorary doctorate of law from The George Washington University.
Mr. Stafford served on the Board of Directors of Verizon Communications, Inc., Honeywell International Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Deere & Co., and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He was an active supporter of charitable and civic organizations, including the Central Park Conservancy, the Metropolitan Opera, and Dickinson College.
An avid golfer and boater, Mr. Stafford also greatly enjoyed travel and spending time with his close extended family and many dear friends. For many years he was a seasonal resident of Edgartown.
Mr. Stafford was deeply devoted to his wife of 52 years, the late Dr. Inge Paul Stafford.
Surviving are his loving daughters Carolyn Stein and her husband, Dr. Eric, Jennifer Farrow and her husband, John, Christina Chapin and her husband, Jason, and Charlotte Stafford; his 13 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren; his brother P. Gordon Stafford, brother-in-law George Paul, and sisters-in-law Nancy Stafford, Barbara Stafford, and Susan Paul.
A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, April 22, at 11 am at The First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, Bloomfield Avenue, with a reception to follow at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. Interment will be private. Arrangements are by Paul Ippolito-Dancy Memorial, Caldwell, N.J. To send the family condolences please visit ippolitofuneralhomes.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church, Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006.