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First Honorary Mayor of Citrus Heights dies at 92


Archived news clippings of Bob Stanaland were shared with The Sentinel by his family. // Images courtesy, Donna Lantz

By Mike Hazlip—
Robert “Bob” Stanaland was a six-decade resident of Citrus Heights and a leader in the tile industry who left behind a mosaic of friends and family with his passing.

As the first honorary mayor of Citrus Heights, Stanaland raised $800 for charity through a 1982 fundraising campaign where votes cost $1, according to a report from the time by the Press-Tribune. The “honorary mayor” initiative was organized by the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, and proceeds were split between the chamber and a charity of Stanaland’s choosing.

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins told The Sentinel the goal of the chamber’s initiative was for each candidate to sell as many votes as possible, prompting the phrase “Vote for me and vote often.”

“Everyone had a lot of fun, and chambers in unincorporated areas still hold honorary mayor races,” Bruins said. She said when Citrus Heights became a city in 1997 with an official mayor, the chamber program came to an end.

Donna Lantz, the oldest of Stanaland’s four children, told The Sentinel in an interview Wednesday that her father chose Easter Seals as the beneficiary of his honorary mayor campaign. She had polio at the age of four, and she said Easter Seals “totally stepped in and took care of everything.”

“Dad felt a huge debt to them, so when he became honorary mayor, the money went to them,” she said.

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Lantz described her father as “quite the character,” often telling complete strangers anecdotes about the family. He would also brag about her and siblings.

“Something that he would tell everyone that he saw if I was with him is that I was born on their first wedding anniversary,” Lantz said.

Stanaland was born July 7, 1928, and moved from Citrus Heights to Roseville when he was six. He enlisted with the U.S. Navy at 17 and served on the USS Tortuga towards the end of WWII.

After the war, Lantz said her father married her mother, Rae, in 1948 when she was just 17 and he was 19. The couple moved to back to Citrus Heights where the family would spend the next six decades and eventually grow to include nine grand children and 15 great grandchildren.

“Me and my siblings were so thankful that we had our parents so long,” Lantz said. “That’s one of the pluses of having a kid when you’re still a kid.”

The couple were married 67 years until Rae’s passing.

Stanaland started a business installing showers in residential homes which led him to patent a method of using hot tar as a water-resistant barrier. His business is now run by his son Robert D. Stanaland.

Lantz recalled going to the DMV when her father was in his early 90s to renew his driver’s license.

“We were thinking, maybe it’s a good idea if he doesn’t get his license,” Lantz said. “Although of course he wanted it and he was still very healthy at that time.”

Lantz wasn’t worried about her father passing the written test, but neither one of them were confident about the vision test. Stanaland passed both test.

“He turns around to everyone sitting in the chairs, and he turns to everyone and raises his license up in the air and said ‘I got it!’ and they all started clapping and cheering,” Lantz said.

Stanaland passed away at age 92 on Dec. 19, 2020, at his home in Citrus Heights. The family is planning to hold a celebration of life in his honor this July, at a date and location yet to be announced.

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