If you missed our 8th Annual Cemetery Walk on October 18, 2015, please enjoy reading this script that was presented during the evening event. Thank you to all of our volunteers who make this event possible each year and to this year’s sponsors: Al’s Pizza, Chase Upholstery, Courtyard Banquets, Minuteman Press, NorthStar Credit Union, The Towne Tap, and Voegtle’s Auto Service.
My name is William “Bill” Stafford and I had the distinct honor of serving as Warrenville’s first mayor.
I was born in 1922 to Edward Stafford and Marie Dorrance, both members of local families who had been in the area for multiple generations. The Stafford family had come to Warrenville in the early 1850s when the patriarch Dorus Stafford brought the family here from Canada.
I was the second of four children and the only son in the family. When I was young, I went by Billy. I attended Holmes School, just two blocks away from my Warren Avenue childhood home. In October of 1933, I got an opportunity that greatly impacted me-I was part of the school trip organized by teacher, Hartlan Hagman, to the Chicago World’s Fair and got to experience wonders I never dreamed of. I was always a hard worker, and during my high school years, I worked on the local farms of Ed Kuhn, Joe Patterman, and the Brummels. I much preferred working with my hands than sitting in the classroom.
After high school, I began working at Marshall Erb’s Excavating near Naperville. During World War II, I worked on a pipeline in Arkansas, and my travels to the south introduced me to a wonderful woman Lois Kelly. She was a Texan by birth, but after we were married on August 29, 1942, in Hot Spring County, Arkansas, she left her southern home for a new one with me up north in Warrenville.
In 1946, I opened my own business, W.T. Stafford Excavating Company, which was located on Ferry Road. Through this business I was able to work on many local construction projects through the years.
As I mentioned, I had the great honor of serving this community as the first mayor in 1967. Warrenville had fought incorporation for many years, wanting to stay a small, simple community, but after 134 years, the town finally voted to incorporate, mainly to ensure that they could preserve land that was slowly being taken over by neighboring suburbs. I served as mayor for 10 years and worked to help Warrenville keep its small town feeling, while also growing to benefit the community. During my time as Mayor, I fought to ensure that Warrenville would keep control over and maintain its own elementary schools. Warrenville had never had its own high school, as students attended high school in Wheaton, but the town was passionate that its students should attend local run elementary schools. I also oversaw the town’s residential areas greatly expand after incorporation and supported the important establishment of the Warrenville library.
Mayor Stafford being sworn in by City Clerk Lucy Bernard
In my last successful election, I pledged to “continue to carefully watch the growth of the city, to maintain its unique and countrylike atmosphere while at the same time working for programs that would carry it into a future of promise and pleasant living for all residents.” I won the election with 63% of the votes against five other candidates. In the next election however, the community voted for a change, and in 1977, John Hudetz was elected the new mayor. I did continue to serve my community as an alderman though until I died on December 2, 1982. During my time as alderman, I also served as president of the Adam Emory Albright Memorial Foundation, which made it possible for the renovation of the Albright Building and the establishment of the Warrenville Historical Museum. I sought to live a life of dedication to my beloved hometown.