the Controversial Committee Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”
Today, many nice, appropriate, serious, and maybe comical items will be related about Gerald Stavely. And rightfully so.
Gerald epitomized the old saying, "I wasn’t born in Texas, but I moved here as soon as possible." Always mindful and proud of his Tennessee roots, he lived the Texas dream as large as any native son might. And those who knew him would attest…he did dream big and cut a wide swath through Irving which will long be remembered.
Sadly, another icon of Irving’s formative years of development and progress has departed to manage that great dry cleaning and laundry operation in the nether lands. He will be processing the garments for a significant parcel of civic leaders who also gave back to the community never expecting recognition, reward, or kudos.
(Perhaps, maybe the time was appropriate for someone to be available to finally steam clean Jim Widener’s French beret.)
While Gerald had a keen sense for the 3-R’s, most will know and understand he was from the old business school of the 3-C’s. As an independent businessman, he religiously practiced: Competition, Commitment and Concern. In essence, he was as serious, in his business operations, as a sharp pant-crease while creating a successful enterprise.
Gerald knew his business and certainly knew what his competition might be considering before they did. The stats he amassed, for his operation, would compete with detail collected by any Fortune 500 company. By collecting all this operational data, his commitment to his customers and employees — to provide the best service and best finished product while addressing customers by name — became another hallmark of his business.
Many knew Gerald from his service and participation in numerous community organizations and groups. His primary endeavors generally directed him to activities which worked to make Irving a better community for residents and businesses. His community dealings reflected the same concern and consideration for Irving which he demonstrated with his employees and friends.
Gerald was well connected, in Irving and statewide, and knew the individuals and organizations who could help make a difference to propel Irving forward. In fact, only Dick Lear might equal him in knowing the greatest number of involved citizens, civic leaders, or patrons of their business.
A mostly private person, Gerald was also highly skilled in keeping his good friends on edge with anticipating his next move or project. Always wanting to have the latest trending or useful gizmo/gadget/equipment, he would select from the top shelf, or sometimes buy in volume, when an item was well suited to his purpose. And generally, a chuckle of outright laughter might ensue when he announcing his latest "find" or project to friends or coffee shop gatherers.
(How many Gerald Stavely One Hour Martinizing wind breakers do you have in your closet?)
Often, I found his humor and concern for others reached further than what was ever known or acknowledged by his peers or associates. And for Gerald, this was just fine. He handled all matters not seeking accolades or strokes for self-indulgence purposes.
I didn’t work ‘for’ Gerald…I worked ‘with’ him is how he would categorize my contribution to his operation. And the way this came about only demonstrated his ability to size up matters and address issues in an orderly and systematic manner to achieve a stated goal.
An early morning coffee shop conversation years ago with Gerald went something like this:
Gerald: You’re retired now, but would you like to go back to work?
Me: I’ve considered doing something part-time for a bit. Just to keep busy. Why?
Gerald: How would you like to help me out in my business?
Me: Gerald, the last thing I want to do is wash someone else’s underwear or press their Levi jeans.
Gerald: (chuckle) That’s not the deal. I’d like for you to perform some internal audit tasks on the stores. When could you start?
Me: Tomorrow sounds good.
That was eighteen years ago and the business ethic of working with someone who really knew what they were doing with their operation still resonates daily.
And certainly, there were some definite fringe benefits for those who were friends or part of his organization…pulled pork being one I remember well.
Gerald had a magical touch when it came to barbecuing. Like his dry cleaning/laundry operations, he realized the proper equipment was always necessary…along with strokes of care and consideration for the final product. And this led him to have a special pit designed and built (in Tennessee…which was only one pit of many pits he owned) to BBQ only pork shoulders.
The morning of the first pulled pork smoking, I realized there was probably not another eating establishment in Irving which could BBQ twelve (12) pork shoulders at one time. Yes, the pit was just another of the amazing attributes that made Gerald…just Gerald.
While some seem to grow in stature when departed, this will not be the case with Gerald Stavely. His legacy in Irving couldn’t grow any larger. His commitment to employees for their concerns and loyalty couldn’t be any larger. And his largeness to his customers is rarely matched in any other Irving business today.
Finally, Gerald’s dedication to his family and friends will remain the largest offering any individual could make or give to his adopted state and community.
Au revoir et bonne journée, Gerald Stavely.