Burton Stanley, owner and Stanley’s Home Center and Western Auto in Downtown Sanford, died this week at the age of 91.
Stanley’s — run by Stanley, his wife Dot and their children — has been a Sanford mainstay for 42 years, opening in 1975 on Steele Street before relocating to its current spot at 232 Wicker Street. The business survived recent big-box competitors like Lowe’s and continues to sell appliances, furniture and even playground equipment [editor’s note: we got our kids’ sled there during this last winter storm].
Born in Moore County in 1925, Stanley fought in Wortld War II and earned a Bronze Star for his service. The talked about missing a boat, the S.S. Leopoldville, on Christmas Eve in 1944 to the Battle of the Bulge in a 2014 interview with The Sanford Herald, an incident that likely saved his life:
… the S.S. Léopoldville sank five miles from Cherbourg after a German U-Boat launched two torpedoes at the ship.
“We lost 803 men in that channel,” he said. “But we didn’t know that immediately. [General Dwight D. Eisenhower] didn’t let word get out, because the enemy would think they had made progress.”
The Stanleys were named the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Owners of the Year in 2014. Burton told The Herald after receiving the award that he had no regrets of his career as a businessman.
“I’ve never had a five-day work week. Counting my time in the Army, I’ve had a six- or seven-day work week for 72 years, and everything I’ve done has been exciting and rewarding.”
Burton Stanley is survived by Dorothy “Dot” Stanley; daughters Deborah Watson and husband Colin, Diane Godfrey and husband Odell, Donna Stuttz and husband Hans, Karen Stanley; son, Van Stanley and wife Sharon. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
The funeral service will be held this afternoon at 3 p.m. at Cool Springs Baptist Church. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Condolences can be made at www.bridgescameronfuneralhome.com.