Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Walter Stubbs

Treasure Island mayor pitched interests of beach community

TREASURE ISLAND — For 20 years, by far the longest tenure of any mayor serving this coastal city, Walter Stubbs watched the bottom line.

He fought property tax increases. He kept the tolls down for motorists across the Treasure Island Causeway. He argued with state officials who measured the city's tax liability without counting its tourists.

"He was always right in there pitching for the good of all the beach cities, not only his community," said Madeira Beach Mayor Pat Shontz. "And when he spoke, people listened."

Mr. Stubbs learned frugality early. His father, an English coal miner, emigrated with his family to the United States through Ellis Island when Mr. Stubbs was 14.

He moved to Treasure Island from New Jersey in 1957 while working for Electronic Communications Inc., and ran successfully for the City Commission in 1963.

In his first few months as commissioner, Mr. Stubbs wrote 17 letters to city officials requesting changes in administration and other matters, drawing the ire of Mayor Fred Anderson. He called for a master plan to manage growth and attend to other priorities, such as widening Gulf Boulevard to four lanes.

Mr. Stubbs retired in 1977 from ECI-Raytheon as director of manufacturing, the same year he began his first term as mayor.

"He didn't put up with any nonsense," said Treasure Island Mayor Mary Maloof, who lost to Mr. Stubbs in 1991. "If you said something he did not like, the gavel would go down."

But every two years, the people of Treasure Island re-elected Walter Stubbs.

Though consistently frugal — he once supported a revenue-limiting measure other mayors found harsh — Mr. Stubbs sometimes underwrote causes. When developers bought Elnor Island in 1984, a haven for vanishing birds and mangrove trees, Mr. Stubbs engineered a trade to buy the land back in exchange for two city-owned lots on Gulf Boulevard valued at $105,000.

"He certainly was a good steward of the city's money," former City Manager Chuck Coward said of Mr. Stubbs, who left behind "respectable but not excessive reserves."

Mr. Stubbs was running for his 11th term as mayor in 1997 when doctors discovered multiple heart blockages. He withdrew from the race and moved to Largo in 2000.

On Sunday, after returning from an afternoon trip to the beach, Nancy Frederich-Stubbs found her husband in their swimming pool. Authorities have ruled his death an accidental drowning, she said.

Frederich-Stubbs, 65, said her husband was sometimes misunderstood.

"People thought he was bullheaded," she said. "But that was just his strong will."

Walter Stubbs was 93.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at or (813) 661-2431.


Walter Stubbs

Born: Sept. 20, 1915.

Died: Oct. 12, 2008.

Survivors: wife, Nancy; son David; seven step-children; numerous grandchildren and other extended family members.

Service: 6 p.m. Friday

(5 p.m. visitation); Memorial Park Funeral Home, 5750 49th St. N; interment 2 p.m. Saturday, Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park, 2853 Sunset Point Road, Clearwater.

Treasure Island mayor pitched interests of beach community 10/13/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the fatal stabbing of two good Samaritans trying to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade on a Portland, Ore., light rail train.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  2. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  3. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  4. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  5. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence


    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …