Stanfield toasted for breakfast
There was a large, white frosted cake with blue roses in the restaurant of Danny’s Grocery in West Orange, Saturday. Among the roses were the words “Happy 90th Birthday J.D.”
“J.D.” is J.D. Stanfield; a lifelong Orange resident is a member of a family that has produced a county sheriff and a fire chief.
Stanfield’s uncle was L.G. “Dick” Stanfield, elected sheriff in 1940 and served until his death while still in office in 1947.
Henry Stanfield, J.D.’s cousin, served as fire chief for city of Orange from 1971-73.
J.D. Stanfield served as an Orange city councilman several times, 12 years in all as mayor pro tem.
“I was on the city council when the Natatorium was built. I’m proud of that,” said Stanfield.
Stanfield graduated from Orange High School in 1936 and started his career of public service soon after graduation. He was a member of the 25-man Orange Volunteer Fire Department, starting in 1939 and staying with the department for a number of years.
“I helped fight the fire in Texas City,” he said. “It was a bad place to be for a while, but we got it under control. There were firefighters from all over that went down there.” He was referring to the explosion that rocked Texas City in 1947 when the freighter Grandcamp blew up at the Texas City docks and set off a chain reaction. The tremendous blast was said to have shook windows in Orange. Casualties included 27 of the 28 members of the Texas City Fire Department and all four fire trucks. The Orange Fire Department was among fire departments from as far away as Los Angeles, California that responded.
Stanfield was away from Orange for two years in World War II. He was in the Army and stationed at Fresno, Calif.“I was too old to go overseas, and besides that I had a family. After my discharge I came home and have been here ever since,” said Stanfield.
Before he entered the army Stanfield worked at Consolidated Shipyard.
After his return to Orange, he entered the business world and became partner in the Case and McGee Furniture Co.
“We were originally located on Front [Avenue] behind the Orange National Bank,” he said. “We later built a building on MacArthur Drive and stayed there for 25 years. We sold out to James Welch. He still has the furniture business, but he has moved his business to another building,” he said.
The majority of guests at his birthday party were fellow members of the Kroger Koffee Klub, jokingly dubbed the KKK. Nine members and their wives enjoyed breakfast and coffee provided by owner Danny Brack.
J.D’s family members present were his wife Pearl, daughter Patty Nimitz and stepdaughter Beverly Raymer, all of Orange. Stanfield’s other daughter, Christine Maddox of San Antonio, was unable to attend.
J.D. and Pearl have three grandchildren, with the first great-grandchild expected to arrive in April.