Youtube Video courtesy of City of Stafford.
The Honorable Mayor Leonard Leon Scarcella was peacefully called home to the Lord on Sunday, June 28, 2020. He was born on July 19, 1940 in Sugar Land, Texas, and was the only child of the late Leon Scarcella and Margaret Scarcella Havens. Leonard attended grade school in the old Missouri City School District and graduated from Missouri City High School in 1958. He earned a BBA in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 1962, and was a member of the Army Corps of Cadets. Scarcella attended University of Houston Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1967. He served in the Texas Air National Guard with active duty in the United States Air Force from 1963 – 1969, where he attained the rank of Sergeant. With his winning personality and strong work ethic, Leonard was soon hired by the city of Stafford to set up its tax rolls. Shortly thereafter, the incumbent Mayor resigned and Leonard declared his intention to run. Scarcella won the 1969 election decisively and became the state’s youngest Mayor to hold office and only the third Mayor of Stafford, since it was incorporated in 1956. As the longest, continuous serving Mayor in the U.S., his 50+ years of dedicated service have been a storied journey that may never be replicated. During his distinguished tenure, Scarcella’s leadership and vision for the improvement and growth of the city have successfully lead to hallmark achievements, which include:
- Elected to serve on Fort Bend County W.C.&I. D. #2 Board of Directors, 1963 – 1969; President of Board, 1966 – 1969
- Entered into Private Law Practice in 1967 and was a Practicing Attorney for 53 years
- Served as a Member of the Fort Bend County Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, the College of the State Bar of Texas, and American Bar Association
- Served as Stafford City Attorney, 1968 to July 1969
- Served as the President of the Fort Bend County Industrial Development Commission, 1979 – 1986
- Received Outstanding Person Award from the Fort Bend County Board of Realtors in 1981
- Elected and served as first President of Board of Directors – Fort Bend County Industrial Development Corporation (Composed of 13 Mayors, County Commissioners and County Judge of Fort Bend County), 1981 – 1985
- Engaged in a six year battle to create and implement the Stafford Municipal School District in 1982 – the only breakaway school in the nation to gain approval of the federal courts and the only municipal school district in the state of Texas
- Developed the Stafford Municipal Pool in 1984
- Planned and developed the Stafford Civic Center in 1986
- Eliminated the city property taxes in 1995 and developed one of the strongest and most diverse economies per capita in Texas
- Led the city’s charge for the expansion of Houston Community College by encouraging legislation change and the construction of their largest campus located in Stafford in 1995
- Implemented the zoning ordinance in 1997 to beautify the city and enrich the quality of life for its citizens in perpetuity
- Created of the Stafford Municipal / Educational Television Station in 1998
- Honored by the Houston Community College System Board of Trustees for spearheading the development of the Scarcella Science and Technology Center on the Stafford Campus in 1998
- Served as the President of the Stafford Economic Development Corporation, 1999 – 2020
- Chaired the Home Rule Charter Commission, 2003 – 2004, where he directed a strong Mayor / Home Rule Charter form of government that is fiscally responsible and has made a significant impact on the commercial growth of Stafford and Fort Bend County.
- Directed the Planning and Development of the Stafford Centre in 2004
- Convinced the Texas Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad to install two underpasses at US 90A, and the relocation of the railroad tracks for safety and mobility in 2006
- Appointed by Mayors of Fort Bend County to the position of Director of the Gulf Coast Rail District, 2007; reappointed and proudly served as a Charter Member of the Gulf Coast Rail District
With his zest for life and his devotion to public service, Leonard was a passionate supporter of many charitable activities and other local events. For those few moments of rest and relaxation, Scarcella enjoyed playing tennis, jogging, and the company of his three dogs – Tiger, Precious, and Big Boy. Blessed with an unwavering spiritual commitment, Leonard was an active member of Holy Family Catholic Church – Missouri City, Texas.
The Honorable Mayor Leonard Scarcella’s inveterate dedication to the City of Stafford, will be forever remembered by all who benefited from his decades of service. As a lifelong resident of Stafford, Leonard leaves behind many close friends and relatives who will miss him dearly. Thank you to the kind staff with Silverado Hospice Care who provided medical assistance to Leonard in his final precious days. A very special thank you to Leonard’s irreplaceable Administrative Assistant, Mrs. Sylvia Mirza. With her dedication and devotion she has worked tirelessly by his side for more than 39 years and has been instrumental to his success.