Harry Brunt was Mayor of Stafford Borough in 1998 and Stone Town Mayor on three occasions, in 1986, 1995 and 2006.
The Labour member represented the St Michael’s ward on the borough council for 20 years, from 1983 to 2003. He was also a Stone Town Council member for more than 20 years, joining in the early 1980s. After a few years away from the town council chamber he returned for a second time, serving until 2015.
Mr Brunt died at St Mary’s Nursing Home in Stone on January 7, aged 87 – less than five months after his wife Marion passed away in August. They spent their final months together at St Mary’s.
His funeral will take place on Wednesday, January 26, at 11.30am at St Dominic’s Church, which he attended and supported throughout his many years in Stone.
The couple had five children – Martin, Heather, Julie, Jackie and Patrick – as well as 11 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and a great great grandchild.
Son Martin Brunt said: “It was an unusual situation to have a married couple at St Mary’s. Mum went in and then Dad went in on his 85th birthday to join her. They celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary there.
“They got married in Birches Head when he was 20 and she was 16. Before they married she was writing letters at 14 to him while he was in National Service. They had a good life together.”
Harry was born in Fegg Hayes, Stoke, and earned a scholarship to St Joseph’s School in Trent Vale, where he gained his School Certificate.
He was in the Royal Artillery during his National Service and was based in Oswestry and Belfast, before being stationed in Hong Kong where he formed part of the guard of honour for the Queen during her visit and received a medal from the monarch.
On his return to civilian life, Harry worked at the Michelin factory before becoming a teacher.
Martin said: “He did 12-hour shifts and someone must have been told he was a clever one, because they took him into the office and made him the suggestions officer. When he was in his early 30s he went to Madeley College to get his teaching certificate and he started off at Knutton School and ended up working for Stafford Borough Council.
“He taught at Werrington Detention Centre and Drake Hall Prison. He taught inmates to read and write.
“He had a lot of sympathy for them. For some it was the first time they had had a bed to themselves and three meals a day and they were discharging them to go back to nothing. He thought it needed to improve and that’s why he was very much a Labour man.”
The family moved to Stone in 1969. As well as representing the town as a councillor, Harry was chairman of St Dominic’s Social Centre and Age Concern Stone and District.
Further afield he sang Ave Verum Corpus at Liverpool Cathedral during a meeting of English and Irish Catholic communities, as well as travelling to countries including Australia and Malaysia. And closer to home Martin’s fond memories of his father include trips out to find conkers and buy a new bike when he passed his 11 Plus exams.
This week the black civic flag flew at half-mast over Stafford Borough Council’s Civic Centre as a mark of respect.
Councillor Jack Kemp, who served alongside Harry on the borough authority for many years, said: “He was a very conscientious member of the Labour group and was chairman of the personnel committee when Labour was in control of the council.
“He was someone that I had great respect for."
Stone councillor Jill Hood said she was sorry to hear Mr Brunt had passed away so soon after his wife.
“The thing I remember about him the most, apart from the fantastic work he did for the town, was his pride in his family”, she said.
“He served as a governor at Walton Priory Middle School and St Michael’s First School.
“He was really knowledgeable and he had a wicked sense of humour. He was a fair and kind man. The town is going to miss him.”
Fellow Stone town and borough councillor Philip Leason said: “He was a true Christian gentleman and worked hard for the Labour Party in Stone.
"He was involved in a number of organisations in Stone, including the Scout and Guide Band, and was chairman of governors at St Michael’s First School for a number of years and chairman of the Ex-Serviceman’s Bowling Club.
“He was such a good servant for the people of Stone. He really put his heart and soul into things.”