In memory: John Dixon Staples

John Dixon Staples was born in Grafton, North Dakota. He passed away on Oct. 23. He grew up on a farm in Hamilton, North Dakota, where he was the second youngest of five children. He is survived by his youngest brother, Harvey, and his wife, Doris. Growing up on the farm developed his tireless work ethic, which served him well his entire life.

John began his formal education in a two-room schoolhouse and graduated as valedictorian of his class. He was an exceptional athlete who played quarterback on the six-man football team, center on the basketball team, and pitcher on the baseball team.

John started his undergraduate academics at Mayville State Teachers College with the intent of becoming a teacher. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War, and served four years. After finishing his service, he married Margaret Gelder and using his G.I. Bill, returned to MSTC where he earned his undergraduate degree in teaching.

Over the next five years, John and Margaret moved 21 times while he pursued a Master’s Degree in business education and a PhD from the University of North Dakota. While finishing his doctorate, John took an assistant professorship position at Colorado State University in 1962 in the business department. He continued to work at CSU as a department chairman, associate dean and as a statistics crew typist who recorded the play by play of all the CSU home football and basketball games. After 31 years, he retired from CSU, but continued to work there part-time for another ten years.

With John teaching and Margaret working as a nurse, they spent every spare minute building a house on the west side of Fort Collins, which they completed in 1964. They raised their two sons, Richard and Robert there, and John lived in the home until his passing.

John was a true family man who coached his sons’ baseball teams, took them camping and fishing, attended their band concerts and sporting events, and always made time to support his family. He was instrumental in developing Fort Collins youth baseball, and he volunteered his time with Habitat for Humanity, the Lion’s Club, Meals on Wheels and the First United Methodist Church to name a few. John was a charitable man who generously gave his time and money to the Fort Collins community. He touched many lives, whether it was teaching Little League players fundamentals and good sportsmanship, advising college students on career choices or leading Sunday school lessons, he always had time for people.

Additionally, John had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. As recently as two weeks ago, he raced ahead of his physical therapist in his wheelchair so she had to run to catch up to him.

Rob and Rick were at his bedside when he left for his heavenly home and peace. A service in celebration of his 90 years of life will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the First United Church at 1005 Stover Street in Fort Collins. Burial will take place at Grandview Cemetery following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Pathways Hospice at or checks to Pathways Hospice, Attn: Karen Campbell, 305 Carpenter Road, Fort Collins, CO. 80525.