Family and close friends met this morning at Katy Magnolia Cemetery to honor former Katy Mayor Ward Stanberry, but for most, they weren’t honoring him for his actions as mayor. They were honoring him for being their family, friend and a pillar of the community that was always there to help solve problems and bring people together with humility and grace.
“He united the city,” long-time friend David Frishman said. “We were having some problems. Some people thourht we weren’t being fair (and that) started to get a Republican-Democrat separation.”
Frishman said Stanberry had been more than just mayor. After serving in World War II and coming moving to Katy, Stanberry had married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Stockdick. He served his community for years on Katy City Council and in various organizations throughout the community, Frishman said. Stanberry was a founding member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9182 in Katy, served on Katy’s Home Rule Charter Commission and ran a successful insurance company in town for many years, Frishman said.
Frishman said Stanberry had always been eager to serve his community and his country. As a boy, Stanberry had tried to enlist in the military after hearing Theodore Roosevelt’s call to arms speech given Dec. 7, 1941. Stanberry wasn’t old enough to join at the time and the recruiter told him to finish high school and come back. In 1942, Stanberry joined the U.S. Navy, Frishman said.
Stanberry was always active in the community, Katy Mayor Bill Hastings said.
“I know that he has always been a big part of whatever was taking place in the city. He started back in the early 60s as a councilman and then as Mayor Pro Tem,” Hastings said.
According to his family, Stenberry served three terms on city council, beginning in 1961. Stanberry served his last council term as Mayor Pro Tem. He then served on the Home Rule Charter Commission, the Charter Review Commissin and the city’s Flood Control Committee and several others.
He served as mayor from 1988 to 1991 and owned an insurance company in town, Hastings said.
Frishman and Hastings both praised Stanberry for his passion for helping others.
Hastings fondly remembered Stanberry taking bike rides on an old-fashioned bike morning and evening prior to his health beginning to decline. He said Stanberry was always there with advice and a friendly smile whenever one encountered him.
Frishman said he remembered his friend regularly stepping in to help folks. whether it was to solve some dispute that had arisen in the community or to help someone with financial problems, Stanberry always wanted to lift others up, Frishman said.
“If somebody had problems, Ward would be behind the scenes helping out and he never wanted credit for it,” Frishman said.
Former Katy Mayor Chuck Brawner said that while he didn’t work a great deal with Stanberry, he knew him as a part of the group of former mayors that serves as its backbone in preserving the city’s heritage.
“He seemed like a very fair and honorable person that really cared for the city,” Brawner said.
Hastings agreed and said Stanberry was always there for the community and was a very loved mayor and businessman.
“He had a deep love for Katy, Texas and never met anyone that was a stranger to him,” Hastings said. “He was a great, great man and he will be terribly missed by a whole lot of people.”
To find out more about former Mayor Ward Stanberry, click this link to visit his obituary.