Grapevine City Councilman Stewart retires after 18 years of service to the city

05/19/2014 4:53 PM

05/19/2014 4:54 PM

After 18 years of service, City Councilman Roy Stewart — who has built hundreds of homes in the Grapevine area and been showered with numerous educational and community accolades — is retiring from public service.

Stewart’s involvement in the community goes well beyond his service on the City Council, which began in 1996.

According to Pam Price of the Grapevine Historical Society, Stewart and his wife Joan “are two of Grapevine’s dream builders.”

“Their years of teaching and community service will long be seen and remembered in Grapevine,” Price said. “How enriched Grapevine and its citizens have been because these two people felt drawn to this small town and made it their own.”

Stewart, 82, said he is retiring because “it’s time,” knowing he is leaving the city in good hands.

“If you can say you really love a place like my wife and I can about Grapevine, then you’re in the right place,” Stewart said. “You can say a person loves a place. I love Grapevine.”

Asked about a highlight of his career, Stewart is proud that he built hundreds of homes, mainly in Grapevine, Southlake, Colleyville and Fort Worth.

“One of my favorite sayings when I see someone whose home I built is, ‘You still owe me money,’ ” Stewart said with a smile.

One of those happy homeowners is Mayor Pro Tem C. Shane Wilbanks, whose home built in 1972 was the first when Stewart went out on his own.

“He’s an honest homebuilder,” said Wilbanks, who has served on the City Council since 1985. “We’ve done two remodels with him and I always say he charged me too much and he says he didn’t charge me enough for building the house because it’s still standing.”

Stewart was born and raised in Fort Worth. He and his wife settled in Grapevine in 1981, in part due to his ownership of Roy Stewart Homes Inc., his home building business.

His contribution to Grapevine includes serving as vice president of the board of trustees of the Grapevine-Colleyville school district and president of the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of Grapevine Rotary Club and AMBUCS.

Stewart was appointed chairman of the 1994 Grapevine Bond Committee. He served as chairman of the board of directors for Texas Bank and is a past president of the board at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine. Stewart has received numerous awards, including the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce D.E. Box Citizen of the Year Award, Grapevine Business of the Year, Grapevine Rotarian of the Year and Distinguished Friend Award given by the Grapevine-Colleyville Education Foundation.

Currently, he is on the board of directors and chairman of business development for Northstar Bank of Texas.

In recognition of his service to Grapevine, city staff honored Stewart with a farewell event May 1 at the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“It was way beyond my expectations,” Stewart said. “There were an awful lot of kind words.”

Among those who lauded Stewart was Councilwoman Sharron Spencer, who called her fellow councilmember “a gentleman.”

Mayor William D. Tate said that “instead of being a brash politician,” Stewart is “a quiet diplomat.”

The mayor said Stewart’s “quiet, easygoing personality” combined with his “ability to communicate with people and to motivate people” is why the longtime councilman has been “very effective.”

Price wrote extensively about Stewart in “Grapevine’s Most Unforgettable Characters,” which was compiled on behalf of the Grapevine Historical Society.

Del Roy Stewart was born Feb. 19, 1932, in Fort Worth. He attended North Texas State College, now the University of North Texas in Denton.

As a college student in 1952, Roy joined the Navy Reserves. That September, he went to boot camp in the Chicago area. He was then transferred to the Navy facility on the campus of the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Okla., where he attended aviation mechanics school.

During his Christmas leave home in Fort Worth, Stewart met his future wife, who he married on June 5, 1953.

Stewart received his orders to report to the Naval Air Station in El Centro, Calif., where he completed his military assignment. After he was discharged from the military in June 1954, they moved to Fort Worth.

Stewart worked at General Dynamics, first in tool design and later in management systems for new program proposals including one for a new space shuttle. While at General Dynamics, he decided to continue his college education and began taking night classes at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics in 1959. He earned his MBA in management in 1965.

Stewart began building homes in the Fort Worth area, eventually leaving General Dynamics. By April 15, 1972, Roy had six houses in progressive stages of construction, some in Grapevine.

In 1981, as Roy’s home-building company grew, the Stewarts moved to Grapevine, then a small rural community. Today, the population is approximately 50,000.

Between 1972 and 1999, hundreds of new Stewart homes were built in Grapevine and the surrounding areas. According to Price, owners of a home built by Stewart’s company “readily affirmed the company’s trademark motto of “Quality, Dependability, and Service since 1972.”

“Throughout this time period, Roy helped many people realize their dreams — from young couples building their first home to others building their final dream home,” Price said. “He has, through his vision, given individuals and families in this community many opportunities to make their dreams a reality.”

Stewart’s wife and the mother of their two daughters, Kim Prochnow and Kerri Martinez, said Stewart will still be a familiar face around town.

“He is out and about all the time,” she said. “He’s not going to quit being involved in Grapevine.”

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