Mayor of Stafford, the longest-serving mayor in the nation, dies at 79

Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella passed away today.
Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella passed away today. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – Leonard Scarcella, the mayor of Stafford, died around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon, according to the Fort Bend Democratic Party. He was 79.

Scarcella made history as the longest-serving mayor in the United States. He was voted into office at the age of 29. Last year, Scarcella celebrated 50 years of service with the city of Stafford.

Scarcella passed away just nine days after his birthday after a brief illness.

Since 1969, Scarcella has amassed notable achievements including leading the charge to create the Stafford Municipal School District, the only municipal school district in the state of Texas.

Scarcella was known to lead with the sound and disciplined fiscal approach. In 1995, the city eliminated property tax making Stafford, the largest city in Texas to abolish city property taxes.

He also facilitated a $100 million partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad to improve the U.S. 90A Corridor.

Scarcella facilitated the development of the Stafford Centre, a 1,100-seat performing arts theatre and 25,000 square-foot convention center space on 43 acres of land.

He also fought to finance and construct the Science and Technology Center for Houston Community College, the first such authorized city/college educational facility in the state.

Scarcella was a life-long resident of Stafford. He attended grade school in Missouri City and graduated from Missouri City High School. He was a graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Houston Law School. He practiced law for 53 years in Stafford.

He served in the Texas Air National Guard with active duty in the United States Air Force.

He was a lifelong member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Missouri City.

Local leaders honor Scarcella

Congressman Al Green released a statement:

When this pandemic hit, Mayor Scarcella and I began brainstorming ways to help the community, as his city had one of the first coronavirus cases in the State of Texas. When we needed event space for a press conference and for the personal protective equipment (PPE) donation drive, he offered the Stafford Centre. When we needed to host Small Business Administration (SBA) webinars for coronavirus-impacted small businesses, he was fully on board. If there was ever a way for Mayor Scarcella to help me in my desire to serve the residents of Stafford – which are also my constituents, he did not hesitate.

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