Cornelius Stafford, a former president of the 100 Black Men of DeKalb County, Inc., passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Members of the organization said they did not yet have details from Stafford’s wife, Patricia, about his death or plans for his homegoing service.
A survivor of kidney failure and end stage renal disease, Stafford often discussed the personal battles that he overcame to inspire others to success.
Stafford received one of his greatest honors for his community work when he was named “Mentor of the Year” by the 100 Black Men of America at its national conference in New Orleans in 2013. It was the year the DeKalb chapter received double honors on the national stage. The 100 Black Men of DeKalb also was honored by the 100 Black Men of America for its “Mentee of the Year,” Brandon Fountain, who was a student at Marist High School in Atlanta at the time.
In accepting his award at the national convention, Stafford said it was through the DeKalb 100’s Leadership Academy mentoring program that he pushed for youths and their families to become more educated about living healthy lives in his quest to help conquer three diseases that are disproportionately impacting African Americans across the country: obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
“Through the 100’s, we sought to turn the mystery of my circumstances into a message that we would communicate to the masses… As a product of the East Illinois Housing Project, I understand the passion and willpower it takes to overcome odds in the pursuit of success,” Stafford told On Common Ground News after receiving the award. “I just want to encourage as many youth as possible to have the same desire to be successful.”
Stafford served as president of the DeKalb County chapter in 2014, becoming the 13th leader to hold the position. He chaired the chapter’s youth summit for four years, exposing mentees in the Leadership Academy and other youths to national figures such as retired NBA player Dikembe Mutmbo and former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher.
Stafford was president/CEO of CS Inspires Inc. He was a motivational speaker who authored nine books with topics that included leadership, mentoring, God’s purpose for one’s life and overcoming obstacles.
Stafford graduated in 1987 from Southern Ilinois University Edwardsville. He went to work for Chrysler Corporation in1989, where he became an area manager for the company, according to his FB page.