Former Mayor Stamper Dies at 86

First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Rev. Larry Stamper, who served as Burbank’s mayor in the ‘80s and was a longtime pastor of a local church, died this week at the age of 86.
Stamper was on the Burbank City Council between 1981 and 1985, holding the seat of mayor from 1983 to 1984. He was the pastor of Burbank First United Methodist Church for more than 30 years, retiring in 2004, the Leader reported at the time. Stamper was also regularly involved in various local charitable events, such as collecting donations for the Burbank Temporary Aid Center.

Photo courtesy Burbank Public Library
Larry Stamper

Judie Wilke, Stamper’s daughter and Burbank’s assistant city manager, said he died in his sleep Tuesday while on a plane to Spain.
“My dad has always said … that he is the luckiest man in the world, and he felt that way because he loved his career, he loved his family and he loved all of the people he had a connection with,” Wilke said.
Stamper’s wife, Sue, died in 2007 at the age of 70, according to a Leader article written at the time. Both were known for their work in their religious community and the city at large, Wilke explained.
“They really felt a strong service to the community and always found time to volunteer to help someone,” she said, adding that they raised her to similarly value civic service.
Besides herself, Wilke noted, her father had two other children — Jeanette and Jim — as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Stamper loved to travel, according to Wilke. During his tenure as mayor, the municipalities of Burbank and Ota, Japan formed a “sister city” relationship that has remained since, with representatives from each city occasionally visiting the other. Stamper also served on the Burbank Sister City Committee after he was no longer on the City Council.
“The bottom line is he’s not forgettable,” Wilke said. “No matter where he was, he always tried to make people smile. … He always would go out of his way to spend time with people, whether because they needed help, they’d lost a family member, they were getting ready to get married, they were having problems in their marriage — whatever was happening, he would always take the time to be with people, to let them know he cared and loved them.”