Robert W. Stanfield, Sr. was born on June 24, 1920, in Windsor, Missouri. Robert graduated from Windsor High School in 1938. He attended the Conservatory of Music at Kansas City, MO, playing the trumpet with many musical organizations in Kansas City and earning a bachelor’s degree in education. Robert later earned a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Kansas.
Robert served his country in WWII as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. He was one of the survivors of the SS Leopoldville, a troopship that sank in the English Channel on Christmas Eve in 1944 while in route to the Battle of Bulge in France. Robert was awarded the Purple Heart for service. Following his military service, he was a teacher, band director, and counselor for school districts and students in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Mr. Stanfield came to Carthage in 1962 as a band teacher and director at the Carthage Jr. High School. The following year he moved to the Carthage High School. During this time, Carthage’s band program was not flourishing, but Mr. Stanfield set out to change that. He recruited student musicians, established Band as a serious Music Education class, set high standards for students, offered private lessons, and added the Carthage Cabaliers Jazz Orchestra at Carthage High School. Mr. Stanfield helped raise funds and created new opportunities for students through Band. His students traveled to festivals and competitions, he exposed them to classical music and theatre performances on trips to Kansas City and St. Louis, and he encouraged students to enter state competitions and work for college scholarships in music. Under his guidance, Carthage’s music education program gained a reputation as one of the finest in the state and the Band was recognized in 1969-1970 as the best 6-point program in the four-state region. Thanks to Mr. Stanfield’s commitment to music education, excellence, and hard work, the Band program at Carthage High School is still a point of pride today. Many of his students still speak often and highly of his influence on their lives, musical careers, and lifelong love of music.
Mr. Stanfield also left another amazing legacy for Carthage that remains to this day. In 1965, he developed an idea for the first invitational band competition in the area. What Mr. Stanfield founded was the Four-State Marching Band Festival in 1966, which later became known as the Maple Leaf Parade and Festival, a now 55+ year beloved tradition in our community. Mr. Stanfield was named Grand Marshall of the Maple Leaf Parade in 1992 and he attended every Maple Leaf Marching Band Festival from its inception until his death.
Mr. Stanfield passed away from a tragic car accident in 1996 and is buried in Park Cemetery in Carthage.