John Rogers Stafford of Essex Fells, N.J., and Captiva Island, Fla., died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Friday, April 18. He was 76.

Born in Harrisburg, Pa., Mr. Stafford was a longtime resident of Essex Fells and Captiva Island since 1976. He was also a longtime summer resident of Edgartown.

Mr. Stafford served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Wyeth (formerly American Home Products Corporation) from 1986 to 2001, and continued as chairman of the board until his retirement in December, 2002. Mr. Stafford joined Wyeth in 1970 as general counsel. He was elected a vice president in 1972, a senior vice president in 1977, executive vice president and a director in 1980, and president in 1981. During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Stafford led the company in growth from $4.9 billion annual net revenue to $14.6 billion. He streamlined the company to focus on its pharmaceutical business, dramatically increasing its investment in pharmaceutical research and development and transforming it into one of the leading innovation-based companies in the industry.

Mr. Stafford was a 1959 graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., where he played football and lacrosse. He received his bachelor of laws with distinction at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as editor in chief of The Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. From 1962 through 1966, Mr. Stafford practiced with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Steptoe and Johnson. From 1966 through 1970, he was a member of the legal staff of Hoffmann-La Roche in Nutley, N.J. In 1991, Mr. Stafford received an honorary doctorate of law from George Washington University.

Mr. Stafford served on the board of directors of Verizon Communications, Inc., Honeywell International Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Deere & Co., and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and was an active supporter of charitable and civic organizations including the Central Park Conservancy, the Metropolitan Opera and Dickinson College.

An avid golfer and boater, Mr. Stafford also greatly enjoyed travel and spending time with his close extended family and many dear friends. Mr. Stafford was deeply devoted to his wife of 52 years, the late Dr. Inge Paul Stafford.

Surviving are his loving daughters Carolyn Stein and her husband, Dr. Eric Stein; Jennifer Farrow and her husband, John; Christina Chapin and her husband, Jason; and Charlotte Stafford; his 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; his brother P. Gordon Stafford, brother in law George Paul, and sisters in law Nancy Stafford, Barbara Stafford and Susan Paul.

A funeral service was at the First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, N.J. Interment will be private. Arrangements were by Paul Ippolito-Dancy Memorial, Caldwell, N.J. To send the family condolences, visit

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church, Bloomfield avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006.