CLINTON — Stanley J. Stites, DPM, 93, former mayor of Clinton, died Wednesday (May 15, 2019) at home in Clinton with his three daughters and loving wife at his side. He was born Jan. 14, 1926, in Charleston, a son of Stanley D. and Pearl Snyder Stites. The doctor's bill was 10 dollars. Stan married Helen A. Highland, June 22, 1946, three days after he was discharged from the U.S. Navy.
Stan attended two years of pre-med study at Eastern Illinois University prior to serving in the Navy. Helen and Stan lived in Chicago for four years while he attended and graduated in May 1951 from Illinois College of Chiropody and Foot Surgery.
In 1953, they moved to Clinton where he practiced podiatry for 10 years. He was co-owner of the DeWitt County Observer. Stan served as director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce for two years before opening his own business in advertising and printing.
Always interested in community service, he helped form a Jaycee unit. He was asked to serve on the YMCA activities committee and was instrumental in forming the Y Players. For almost 20 years the Y Players presented two or three plays and musicals a year. They were instrumental in assuring that the new high school would have a great stage for productions and concerts. Stan directed plays (two that he wrote) and musicals that included “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Music Man.”
He served as mayor of Clinton for two terms from 1979-1987. Major projects that were achieved during his service included changing the library - a city library with only a small city tax - to a district library that covered the same area as the school district. Tax funds from the nuclear power plant provided for a library that is the envy of large nearby cities.
Working with the county road engineer, Mayor Stites learned that county and township motor-fuel tax could be used to help pay for a street from West Main to Route 10. The city annexed this area which created Illini Drive.
While serving on the board of the Friendship Center, he worked to get a $100,000 grant from the state for a building. With a short deadline, the needed funding was met with some local donations as well as much donated labor from local carpenters, plumbers, electricians and others.
When Helen and Stan moved to Clinton they were surprised that so little attention was paid to the fact that Abraham Lincoln had spent so much time here and in DeWitt County as a circuit lawyer. They helped form the Lincoln Heritage Committee. As mayor, Stan named the downtown park “Mr. Lincoln's Square” to honor Lincoln.
Stan attended the writer's workshop at the Clinton Fine Arts Center. Many of his short stories were published in newspapers throughout the country. In addition, he published three books. He liked to say his brother Max worked the numbers while he worked the words.
Survivors include Helen, his wife of almost 73 years, and daughters, Carol Stokes, Manitowoc, Wis.; Connie Konya, Norwalk, Conn.; and Cheryl (Mike) Masters, Grand Junction, Colo. Their oldest daughter, Cynthia (Cait Stanley) is deceased. They have six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
His brother and best friend of 91 years, Max, of Clinton, and a sister, Priscilla McGregor, of Venice, Fla., survive, as well as numerous nieces and nephews throughout the U.S. Three brothers and five sisters preceded him in death as well as his son-in-law, John Konya.
The family would like to thank Pastors Don Ferrill and Randy Myers and the staff of Harbor Light Hospice for their loving care.
A memorial service will be arranged at a later date. The family requests no flowers. Memorials can be made to the Clinton United Methodist Church where Stan previously served as lay leader.