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Terra Firma: Trinity University Press blog

A Vivid Girl from the Mountains

by Rachel Cooley on

Dorothy Stafford, teacher and widow of poet William Stafford, died last Thursday at the age of ninety-seven. We'd like to express our condolences to Dorothy’s friends and family, including son and TU Press author Kim Stafford. 

Dorothy was an inspirational teacher in Lake Oswego, Oregon, the mother of four children, and supportive partner of William Stafford for fifty years. Born on a farm in Nebraska and raised in California, Dorothy accompanied her minister father to a camp for conscientious objectors in 1943 and there met William, a Kansas farm boy, who told his draft board that he learned not to kill in Sunday school and believed it still. The two went on a walk and married a year later. 

In his poem "Passing Remark", Stafford described his wife lovingly as "a vivid girl from the mountains." His forthcoming book, The Osage Orange Tree, a short story of young love during the Great Depression, is dedicated to Dorothy. 

Read more about Dorothy’s inspirational life on

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