A Celebration of Life service for Charles Lee Stansifer, 85, Lawrence, will be 2pm, June 11, 2016, in the Carnegie Building in downtown Lawrence.
Charles Lee Stansifer, long-time resident of Lawrence and Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Kansas, died Thursday, February 4, 2016. He was born December 13, 1930 in Garden City, Kansas, the second son of Benjamin Harrison Stansifer and Berenice Arlene Isabel Lucas.
He was married to Mary Ellen Love on August 21, 1954; she died in 2001. He is survived by their four children and their families — Ryan and Betsy Stansifer of Melbourne Beach, Florida, Mary Lee Stansifer and Jim Collins of Denver, Colorado, John Stansifer of Malibu, California, and Karen Stansifer and Jean-Yves Sabot of Thornton, Colorado. Seven grandchildren and four nephews and nieces also survive.
In 2015 his second partner in life, Mary Miller, died. Professor Stansifer is survived by three of her children and their families — Dianne Miller of Nehalem, Oregon, Kim Miller of Manzanitas, Oregon, and Byron and Ann Miller of Lawrence, Kansas.
Professor Stansifer graduated from Garden Plain High School in 1948 where he played on the football, basketball, and baseball teams. He participated in track, sang in the boys’ quartet, acted in all the high school plays, and edited the high school newspaper. He graduated from Wichita State University with a major in Spanish and master’s degree in history. He began to work on a doctorate in Latin American history at Tulane University under the direction of William Joyce Griffith. He finished his Ph.D. in 1959. He came to the KU as an Assistant Professor of History in 1963. A specialist in Central America, Professor Stansifer taught the first course specifically on the history of Central America in the USA and was a frequent visitor to all the Central American countries, especially Costa Rica. He was director of the Junior-Year program in Costa Rica in 1966 and 1974. He served as the Director of the Center of Latin American Studies from 1975 until 1989, and was Chair of the Department of History from 1993 to 1996. He retired from teaching in 2004.
Until dementia limited his independence, Professor Stansifer traveled all over the world for fun and in pursuit of his many interests. He helped strengthen the KU Library’s collection on Central America to become one of the best in the country. His humorous lectures on the subject of bananas and his extensive collection of banana-related things are well-known. He served for over twenty years on the board of directors of the Kansas-Paraguay Partnership and negotiated the first university exchange agreements between universities in Paraguay and the state universities of Kansas.
The family wishes to express its great appreciation to Byron Miller and to Gail Zukav-Ross and David Ross of At Home, Inc., for making it possible for Professor Stansifer to live in Lawrence close to KU which he loved. The family suggests memorials to the Stansifer Scholarship Fund at the KU Endowment Association, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044 for the benefit of students of Central American Studies.