Maurice  Stamps


Maurice Stamps, life-long resident of Seymour and a revered figure in
the community, died on Thursday, August 22 at 103.
To generations of Seymourites, Maurice's place in the community will
be forever linked to the Seymour Community High School. From 1947
until 1979, he was a member of the school faculty, first as English
teacher and track and football coach, and starting in 1956 as high
school principal.
After retiring in 1979, Maurice remained active in the community
through his participation with local service organizations such as the
Lions Club and the American Legion Post. He continued to take an
interest in school events. For many years he attended every Alumni
Banquet, where it was his honor to announce the names of
scholarship recipients.
In 2006 Maurice's role in the community became better known to
later generations of townspeople--the children, grandchildren, and
even a few great grandchildren of his former students. In that year,
following the death of Enid, his wife of sixty years, he began to write
historic reminiscences and sketches for the Seymour Herald. These
essays, which told the story of growing up in Depression Era
southern Iowa, were eventually collected into a series of locally
popular books called Shoal Creek Legends.
As America began to realize that its population of "greatest
generation" World War II veterans was rapidly thinning, Maurice
wrote a war memoir called SNAFUs and Love Letters, which drew on
the letters sent between him and Enid, his future wife, during the
four-year separation imposed by his wartime duty in the South
Maurice took great pride in his army service. Of his various social and
civic duties, that of unofficial chaplain for the American Legion post
was in some ways the hardest yet most fulfilling. As one who
appreciated a good story, and who liked to keep the old stories alive,
he was increasingly called on to share a few words, an anecdote, or a
poem he remembered from his teaching days, at the graveside of a
fallen post member.
For a certain generation of SCHS alums, those who attended school
from the late 40s to roughly 1960, Maurice will be remembered
foremost as a teacher and coach. Though he always took special
pride in his role as an English teacher, his role as a football coach
may still linger brightest in a few memories. During the 1950s, the
school fielded some of its most successful teams, winning
back-to-back Blue Grass Conference championships in the 1953 and
1954 seasons. His 1953 team was one of just twelve undefeated
teams in the state. For long-suffering boosters of Seymour football,
those were the glory years.
Maurice was born on the family farm in 1915, two miles southeast of
Seymour, through which ran the Shoal Creek of his book titles. He
was old enough to know about, if not remember first-hand, Seymour's
original boom era in the early days of the 20th century. Local coal
mining operations swelled the town population to 3,000 and the town
had two railroad stations. In his Shoal Creek Legend books, he
painted pictures of a lively Seymour and some of its colorful
characters in those post coal-boom years.
Maurice left Seymour in 1935 to attend Knox College in Galesburg,
Illinois on a football scholarship. He enlisted in the army in 1942 and
by the time he returned to Iowa following the war, the community was
already much changed from that which he would later describe in his
books. Most of the areas one-room school houses, including the
Brush College School that he attended as a child, were closing. Not
everyone who had left town during the war years, to fight or to work in
defense plants, had returned and Seymour was gradually losing
Yet, family farms still dotted the landscape, and many of those farms
had school-aged children. By the 1960s, the post-war baby boom
meant a growing number of students. Following the decision to
consolidate the Seymour, Jerome, Promise City and Sewal schools
into a single community school, graduating classes approaching sixty
were not uncommon. Fifty or more boys routinely vied for spots on
the football team; the school's marching band numbered in the
eighties. As principal, Maurice presided over this second heyday at
the school and Seymour experienced another golden age.
Maurice was known for his prodigious memory and was often the
go-to town historian. In 2003, when he was honored at the town Old
Settlers Celebration, reminiscences not surprisingly turned to his
days as a football coach. A few people in the crowd may have been
surprised that, at age 88, he could remember not only the final score
of a game played 50 years before, but the specific third-and-six
off-tackle running play that gained a key first down and turned the tide
in a tough-fought contest.
In later years, returning SCHS graduates who approached Maurice at
an Alumni Banquet or a town event would often preface their
introduction with words to the effect of "Mr. Stamps, you probably
don't remember me.... " But, in most cases, he did. He very likely
remembered not only their names but also the names of their
brothers and sisters. And, if she had been a local girl, he probably
recalled the maiden name of their mother.
With the help and support of his beloved community, Maurice was
able to live at his Seymour home until early 2019. His family would
like to thank Ralph Alshouse for his many years of devoted friendship
and daily visits, and Debbie Wardlow for years of compassionate nursing care. Tom and Sue Remby were always on call for assistance.
Enfys McMurry kept Maurice apprised of currents events and he
relied on her spirited daily phone calls and frequent visits.
When a January fall necessitated a move to Mercy One Long Term
care in Centerville, Sherry Doggett watched over Maurice and visits
from Seymour friends brightened his days. He passed peacefully in
the early morning of Thursday, August 22.
Maurice was preceded in death by his wife Enid and his daughter
Nancy. He is survived by his son David and partner Linda Hultquist,
his son in law Terry Destito, four grandchildren, many great
grandchildren and numerous extended family.

Funeral service will be 10:30 am, Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at Thomas Funeral Home in Seymour. Interment will follow in Southlawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at Thomas Funeral Home in Seymour from 1-7 pm, with the family present from 5-7 pm. Memorials may be given to the Maurice & Enid Stamps Scholarship Fund in care of Seymour Community Club. Condolences may be shared at or
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Published on August 26, 2019
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