Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 29, 2012

Crossville native’s story depicted in new movie 'Argo'

CROSSVILLE — In September 1979, Joe Stafford was sent to Tehran, Iran, for his first posting with the U.S. Foreign Service along with his wife, Kathleen, and three other new junior diplomatic officers.

"It was one of the first years that the State Department allowed spouses to take the consulate course so they could work in the visa section of the embassy," said the former Kathleen Franks, a 1969 Cumberland County High School graduate. "They planned to let other spouses go in October and the idea was they were letting us go a little bit earlier."

Just two months later, Kathleen and Joe would be among six American diplomats seeking shelter with Canadian diplomats as the Iranian government collapsed and 52 Americans were held hostage by revolutionary students and militants across the city at the breeched U.S. embassy.

A Love of Art, Travel

Kathleen moved to Cumberland County with her family when she was in the sixth grade. For a family that had moved often with her Air Force father, Crossville offered a place to put down roots and make lasting memories.

The first of those was Paul Crabtree's production of Perils of Pinocchio in 1963.

"When we first arrived, we went to school every day at the middle school and it was a little bit dreary," she said. "Then Paul Crabtree came and put on a play and he brought lights and costumes. We sang songs and ran up and down the aisles. We all thought it was brilliant you could have spotlights."

Kathleen continued to take part in Playhouse productions throughout her high school years, performing in Tennessee, USA in the summers and watching people make the beautiful scenery for the shows. She also was active at CCHS, serving as junior class president and editor of the Jet Stream, a literary magazine featuring student short stories and poetry with illustrations. The magazine received recognition by a New York publication for its use of graphics.

She also studied art under Joe Ed Hodges and math with Velma Buck, both icons of education in Cumberland County, she said. Those two teachers impacted her later decision to study art and math in college, first at George Peabody College in Nashville and then for two years at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

At UT, she met Joe, who was studying Spanish and political science.

"Studying together, I think we just fell in love," she said. A year and a half later, they were married and he finished his undergraduate degree and one year of a master's degree in political science. They moved to Birmingham, AL, so that Kathleen could complete her degree while Joe went to work. Alabama-Birmingham had just started its art program when she arrived, and many of her art classes were taken at a sister university. There she was introduced to printmaking using cardboard plates instead of metal. Her senior thesis used black and white photographs of movies stars because the clothing provided a sense of texture to the photographs. She added more texture with fabric and glue.

She continued her art education at the Scuola Libera del Nudo in Rome and Palermo while Joe worked for an import-export company there. After a year in Rome, the couple returned to the United States to Florida so that Joe could continue his education working toward a doctorate in Latin America Studies because he had planned to teach at the university level.

"After a while, he started thinking he didn't want to be a professor. He loved the idea of traveling and working overseas," Kathleen said.

He took a test to join the U.S. Foreign Service and passed. He was given 10 days to get to Washington, DC, and start the 10-week basic program to learn about the service and the duties of junior officers. After that, the new officers bid on where they wanted to be placed. Joe's list included Khartoum, Sudan, and Tehran, Iran.

Joe, Mark Lijek, Richard Queen and Don Cook were all sent to Tehran.

Text Only
  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fair Park.jpg Final audition planned for talent show

    Last auditions for Crossville’s Got Talent will be this Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. The center is at 1433 Livingston Rd. It looks like another good show, so miss this one.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLATEAU GARDENING: Cool-season lawn grass fertilization and soil tests

    Recently, I got an inquiry about the right timing for homeowners who want to fertilize a cool-season lawn which has bare spots that need over-seeding. An email from a new resident in the Crossville area asked how to take a soil sample and where to have it tested. Since problems with the pH or fertility of the soil beneath can result in chronically thin grass with persistent bare places up top, testing the soil then correcting pH and fertility to match plant needs can be an important first step in maintaining your lawn.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG953498.jpg It's a great day to fly a kite!

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Season of fundraising begins

    Spring is in full swing, and this mean there are a host of not-for-profit organizations in Crossville and Cumberland County hosting events over the next few weeks. The first event will begin this weekend with a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-25 N&N meeting.jpg Investigative forensic science close to home

    NCIS? CSI? Bones? All fictional! Here in East Tennessee, they have a real investigative forensic expert — Dr. Bill Bass.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seniors honor Drasal for service

    The 127 Senor Center members gathered Friday, April 4, with goodies and chit chat and welcomed some members who returned from their operations, winter excursions and other illness. The members played dominos and bingo, with Arlene Simmons calling the numbers.

    April 8, 2014

  • Marriage licenses (Published April 9, 2014)

    April 8, 2014