City of Arlington Remembers Former Mayor S.J. Stovall

S.J. Stovall, former Mayor of Arlington, passed away Wednesday evening, July 14 at the age of 84. He served as Mayor for the City of Arlington from 1977 to 1983 and as a council member from 1963 to 1977.

For more than 20 years, S.J. Stovall was an important influence on Arlington’s economic growth and leadership. Born in Lufkin, Texas, Stovall attended Texas A&M University after serving in the Air Force. In August of 1950, Stovall moved to Arlington to begin a new assignment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As a civil engineer, he designed and supervised the development of soil embankments, major concrete dams and roadways throughout Tarrant County and the north Texas region.

Stovall began his Arlington legacy as a city council member in 1963. During his tenure, Stovall worked closely on the Interstate 20 project. As a former employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he used his engineering expertise to help the Texas Department of Transportation navigate the best possible route for I-20 through Arlington.

While Mayor, Stovall was instrumental in forming Leadership Arlington, an organization that prepares community leaders in the theories and practices of local government.

During his three terms in office, Stovall also led the effort to develop and construct the Arlington Convention Center, as well as a new and improved Arlington City Hall. Additionally, to ensure a sound economic foundation for the city, Stovall built relationships with companies such as National Semi-Conductor and Wet ‘N Wild, which led their executives to move operations to Arlington.

After completion of his final term as Mayor in 1983, Stovall continued his public service as Board Chairman of Mission Metroplex Mission Arlington, on the Arlington Memorial Board of Trustees, and was active in the Crime Stoppers program. His service also extended beyond Arlington, serving on the Tarrant County Commissioners Court. Known as always dependable, he was selected to take over the unexpired term of Commissioner Jerry Mebus, who died while in office. Stovall remained on the court until retiring in 1985.

In 1991, as a tribute to Stovall and his influence on Arlington’s development, the City opened a 52 acre park named in his honor. S.J. Stovall Park is located at 2800 West Sublett Road in southwest Arlington.

Stovall also held various offices of distinction throughout his career, including President of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Chairman of the Central Regional Waste Water System Advisory Committee of the Trinity River Authority, member of the Regional Transportation Policy Advisory Committee, member of the Society of American Military Engineers, and member of the Federal Business Association.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mayor Stovall,” said Mayor Robert Cluck. “During his service as a city council member and mayor, he and his colleagues made many wise and strategic decisions that assured Arlington would continue to thrive. We continue to benefit from those decisions. He leaves a legacy of public service and a true love for Arlington. In this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of those who knew and loved him. He was indeed a special friend.”

Visitation is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Arlington Funeral Home. The memorial service is 10 a.m. Saturday, July 17, at First Baptist Church in Arlington.