Bullitt County History

Edgar B. Stansbury

Edgar B. Stansbury grew up in Bullitt County, and attended Shepherdsville High School before entering Western Kentucky University, where he was an outstanding athlete. His ties to WKU continued thoughout his lifetime.

We have copied below his obituary which was printed in the Bowling Green Daily News on 21 Aug 2009.

Col. Edgar B. Stansbury, WKU standout, dies in Florida at 103
Bowling Green Daily News, Friday, August 21, 2009 11:33 AM CDT

Col. Edgar Bryant Stansbury, 103, son of Emmett L. Stansbury and Mabel Katie Bell Stansbury, died Aug. 19, 2009.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Edith Rupard Stansbury, whom he married in 1931. Stansbury was a World War II veteran and an Air Force veteran from 1948 until his retirement in 1961. Stansbury is best known locally as an ardent supporter of Western Kentucky University, sharing the same year of birth as WKU, and had been inducted into both the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni (2005) and WKU Athletic Hall of Fame (1994).

He was born in Corbin on July 18, 1906. He grew up in the Shepherdsville area and came to WKU as a three-sport athlete for coach E.A. Diddle. Stansbury earned three varsity letters in each of his three sports - football, basketball and baseball - before graduating from WKU in 1930. During his time as a student, Stansbury found he was absorbed by two things - athletics and the Western Spirit. He returned to WKU in 1934 as an assistant football coach under coach William "Gander" Terry and assistant basketball coach under coach Diddle for seven seasons, and as head tennis coach for three seasons.

Stansbury left the Hill for service in WWII, serving in the European and Pacific theaters and the Pentagon. He also survived a German submarine attack on his ship in the Atlantic. Stansbury then returned to WKU in 1946 as director of athletics and head of the Department of Health and Physical Education, when he also resumed his assistant coaching duties. In 1948, Stansbury returned to the Air Force until his retirement in 1961.

Stansbury achieved numerous successes in his life in the private business sector, serving as manager of administrative services for Honeywell Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla.; conducting investigative studies for the St. Petersburg Times; and serving as vice president of Bay Island Venture, a condominium company in South Pasadena, Fla.

Despite his accomplishments in the military and in business, Stansbury's true allegiance always lay with WKU. During his life, Stansbury attributed his devotion to the university to coach Diddle; Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry, WKU's founder and first president; and former Athletics Director L.T. Smith, who Stansbury recognized as providing him the impetus to seek a master's degree from Peabody College, which he completed in 1933.

Stansbury has been credited with producing the first red towels used on WKU's athletic benches. He often related the tale of coach Diddle trying to find a way to keep towels from disappearing from the athletic department. Stansbury suggested dying the towels red and eventually found a source to purchase red towels. The towels stopped disappearing and the red towel became a symbol of the WKU spirit, waving throughout every WKU athletic event and traveling with alumni worldwide as a symbol of ties to WKU.

Stansbury demonstrated his commitment to WKU in 1998, when he pledged more than $1 million to fund three scholarship awards: the Edgar B. Stansbury Athletic Scholarship; the Edith R. Stansbury English Scholarship; and the Col. Edgar B. and Edith R. Stansbury Scholarship for Teacher Education. In recognition of his generous support, the second floor of E.A. Diddle Arena was christened the Col. Edgar B. Stansbury Concourse.

Stansbury epitomized zest for life past his 100th birthday, traveling from Florida to Bowling Green each year through 2006 for WKU's football homecoming. Stansbury attended WKU's game against Drake in the NCAA basketball tournament in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2008, noting at that time that WKU won the game by scoring the same number points as his age, and that 101 never looked so good.

A service will be held in the chapel of Fairview Cemetery and will conclude at the nearby graveside site at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Johnson-Vaughn-Phelps Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the College Heights Foundation designated for the Col. Edgar B. and Edith R. Stansbury Scholarship Fund.

Survivors include his longtime friend and caregiver, Daphne Lawrence; a niece, Donna Harris Stout; a nephew, James Summers Cruise; a great-niece, Christy Cruise Coulter; and three great-nephews, Dr. Kerrick Louis Stout, Mike Cruise and Tim Cruise.

Additional information about him may be found beginning on this WKU web page.

Emmett Stansbury, Edgar's father, was born 6 Aug 1883 to James and Nancy (Carpenter) Stansbury. He was a younger brother of James W. Stansbury who was killed in the 1917 train wreck at Shepherdsville. Emmett married Mabel Katie Bell, daughter of John and Serina (Mobley) Bell of Boston, Kentucky. Mabel was born on 4 Apr 1886. She died on 6 May 1944. Emmett lived until 26 Mar 1950.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/edgarstansbury.html