The Rev. Dr. J. Gordon Stapleton, 86, of Bethany Beach, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at Delaware Hospice Center in Milford.
He was born in Cambridge, Md., son of the late Clarence Walter Stapleton and Louise (Blades) Stapleton. He graduated from Cambridge High School and received degrees from Wesley College and Washington College, Chestertown, Md., a master of divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., and a PhD from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa.
From 1951 to 1990 he served as pastor of six churches and twice served as an Annual Conference Administrator, retiring as Conference Council of Ministry Executive in 1990. On three different occasions he served briefly as a district superintendent in Dover and Easton, Md. He was a member of four general and jurisdictional conferences of the United Methodist Church from 1976 until 1988. For 20 years he served on various national boards for that denomination.
He was a 50-year member of Coats Lodge 102, A.F. & A.M., Easton. He was a 32nd Degree Mason with the Scottish Rite, Valley of Baltimore, Boumi Temple A.A.O.N.M.S., and a member of Doric Lodge No. 30 in Millville.
The Rev. Stapleton is survived by his wife, Barbara Jacobs Stapleton; a son, Jeffry B.; daughters, Lauren S. Verge and Martha S. Bradley and her husband Keith; three granddaughters, Chelsea Cassons, Gabrielle Stapleton and Lindsay Verge; and a grandson, Andrew Gordon Verge.
A memorial service will be held Monday, Feb, 3, at 11 a.m. at Mariner’s Bethel U.M. Church, 81 Central Ave., Ocean View, where friends may call after 10 a.m. Interment will be held privately at a later date in Barratt’s Chapel Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions in the Rev. Stapleton’s memory to Mariner’s Bethel U.M. Church, 81 Central Ave., Ocean View, DE. 19970, or Wesley Theological Seminary, 4500 Mass Ave., NW, Washington, DC. 20016.