The founder of Stafford Development, DeNean Stafford, Jr., was born on August 14, 1914 in Seneca, Missouri, to DeNean Stafford, Sr. and Delphine Porter Stafford. “My father was trying to be successful, so with each move, he bought a bigger bank, “ DeNean said. “I lived all over the country before I was in high school.” In 1928, the depression caused Stafford, Sr. to lose everything he had accumulated. His father’s loss forever embedded in his memory, DeNean was determined to diversify his businesses.

DeNean Stafford, Jr. decided to move to Tifton, Georgia in 1947 and use his $18,000 in savings to open his first business venture, Stafford-Johnson Motors, selling Studebaker cars and trucks and Case farm equipment. “It has an excellent business climate and quality of life. Tift, the founder of Tifton, got the town off to a good start. It is a better town than the average town anywhere around because of its foundation. Also, I like South Georgia, and it’s as South Georgia as Baxley and Waycross, where I was raised,” DeNean said of his move.

On July 26, 1947, DeNean Stafford, Jr. and Flora C. “Boo” Stafford were married, and later had three children: Mary Jane Theden, Sally Perez and DeNean Stafford, III.