TUPELO, Miss. -- Devoted husband and father Gale Stauffer served his country in Iraq, but died Monday in Tupelo, where a violent criminal murdered the police officer in cold blood.
Stauffer, 38, rose to the rank of corporal, proud to serve and protect in Tupelo, where he and his soulmate wife, Beth, raised daughter Dixie, 6, and son Skip, 2.
Now Daddy for those children can live only through heroic memories and loving stories told by his adoring wife, other family and friends.
He would have returned home Monday night with wrapping paper for Christmas gifts at home, where their family planned to open them just days later.
Gale Stauffer's favorite holiday turned into a Christmas tragedy that has people throughout the community praying for the family's pain to ease.
Beth Stauffer's co-workers often heard her dote on the loving nature of the Louisiana native.
"When she talked about Gale, she just glowed," said Deborah Tierce, a real estate agent with Tommy Morgan Inc. Realtors. "She adored him."
Gale Stauffer's mom, Debbie Brangenberg, the executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, commented years ago on an online forum after three of her son's fellow soldiers died in battle, words that many people could easily send to the Stauffer family now: "Through prayer and thoughts I send you all the strength that I have during this time."
A Facebook page, "Remembering Cpl. Gale Stauffer TPD EOW 12/23/13" was created Monday evening as a place for people to offer words of support to the family of the fallen officer.
Copyright 2013 - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo
McClatchy-Tribune News Service