Gary Norman Pressler(1944 - 2015)
Published in Dallas Morning News on Dec. 13, 2015
~ IN MEMORY ~
• Posted on Nov 21, 2015by Chris Roark
The Flower Mound community is remembering former mayor Gary Pressler for his leadership during the town's early days.
Pressler, who served as mayor from 1980 to 1984, died Friday. He was the town's seventh mayor.
Rick Lust, who was the town's mayor from 1988-1990, said he was friends with Pressler for about 40 years.
“Gary Pressler was one of the finest human beings I've ever known,” Lust said. “He guided his life with a strong moral compass. And he loved to engage people in the discussion, and he wanted to find out people's thoughts. Those things made him a strong leader.”
Lust said Pressler used that strong leadership to guide the town during a pivotal point in its history.
In the early 1970s, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) project called Flower Mound New Town was established in what is now east Flower Mound. Flower Mound New Town, led by Edward Marcus, was created to bring in innovative urban and housing design plans.
HUD installed the infrastructure for the development, but New Town lasted only a few years. During Pressler's term, he and the Town Council agreed to take over the debt of the utility district, which at the time was $30 million.
“It was a tough decision, but Gary negotiated with HUD and got the council to go along with it,” Lust said. With that came what Lust described as a state-of-the-art sewer treatment facility. “We got the sewer, the water lines and the infrastructure that most towns our size didn't have,” Lust said. “And that was attractive to developers.” Lust said Pressler's vision was critical for the growth that was about to take place in Flower Mound.“Everyone was nervous [about taking on the infrastructure debt],” Lust said. “But Gary could see beyond that and saw that the growth was coming. And when the developers came, they said, 'This is what we want.' Because we had great infrastructure.” HUD then underwrote the first master plan for the town and Lust said, under Pressler's leadership, more strict ordinances were included, such as those that address signs, landscaping and setbacks.
After his time as mayor ended, Pressler stayed involved in the community. Jody Smith, who served as mayor from 2004-2010, said Pressler was a big advocate of organ donation and spoke publicly about the importance of it. He also assisted in the master plan process in later years. An avid golfer, he was a marshal at Bridlewood Golf Club.
“He was very personable, and he loved Flower Mound,” Smith said. “He was definitely committed to Flower Mound. And he will be missed by many.”