Stafford mayor Leonard Scarcella died Sunday afternoon at age 79, according to an announcement by the City of Stafford. The cause of death was not disclosed.
A news release from the city said Scarcella died just before 3 p.m. Sunday following a brief illness. Scarcella held the title as the longest-serving mayor in the United States, having been Stafford’s leader since 1969.
He was a lifelong resident of the city, having attended middle and high school in Missouri City before attending Texas A&M and the University of Houston Law School. He practiced law for 53 years in Stafford, and was also a member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Missouri City.
Under Scarcella’s leadership, Stafford abolished city property taxes in 1995 and became the only Texas city with a municipal school district.