Louis Ephraim Stradling, a former Mesa City Councilman and one of the founders of the city’s official charter in 1967, died Tuesday evening. He was 95 years old.
Stradling was very active in civic, religious and community life, and is well known for founding Mesa’s Constitution Celebrations, his daughter-in-law Elaine Stradling said.
After he was elected to help create Mesa’s city charter, he served as a city council member from 1968 to 1978, according to the city clerk’s office. Later, he ran unsuccessfully for Mesa mayor and Congress.
“Mr. Stradling is a great man,” said Mesa city clerk Linda Crocker. “He did a lot of things for the city through the years. He was just an amazing man.”
Although he was unable to serve in the military during World War II, Stradling worked as a civilian at Williams Field Air Force Base during the war, Elaine Stradling said. Afterwards, he and his brother bought a farm where he managed a dairy and his brother grew cotton. Stradling later helped run the family business, now known as Stradlings Fine Cabinetry.
A self-taught man, Stradling understood the importance of Constitutional knowledge and strove to teach it to others, she said, adding that he opened a Constitutional school above the family store where he taught generations of students about the United States Constitution and the importance of local government. For many years, the Mesa Constitution Celebration events each September were spearheaded by Stradling.
A devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he served as bishop in Mesa’s Second Ward, and also on the Mesa High Council Stake, his daughter-in-law said.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Eleanor Stradling, and survived by his 14 children, 86 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
Born in Blue Water, N.M., on Oct. 31, 1916, Stradling spent most of his childhood between Blue Water and Mesa, where his grandparents and great-grandparents lived. He attended Mesa High School for three years before graduating in New Mexico, but Elaine Stradling contends that her father-in-law considered himself a lifelong Mesa resident.
Services for Stradling will be held on Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints located at 1455 N Harris Dr., Mesa. A public viewing will be held at 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 6 and an hour prior to the church services.
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