HERBERT STANSBURY, BUSINESSMAN AND HUMORIST
Herbert Earl Stansbury, Jr., a longtime resident of Piedmont, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday morning, July 31st, 2010. He was 84 years old.
Herb was born on November 12th, 1925 in El Paso, Texas to Herbert Earl Stansbury and Sallie Ruth Hopson. The youngest of four children, he was fortunate to grow up basking in the adoration of his three older sisters Mary Margaret ("Moggie" Briggs), Ruth ("Ruthie" Thornton) and Virginia ("Ginna" Steenson).
Herb spent his early years in El Paso, where he learned to speak Spanish and developed a taste for spicy foods. As a young man, he and his family relocated to Los Angeles in 1937, and then later to Oakland where he graduated from Oakland High School in 1942 [sic].
In the fall of 1942 Herb entered UC Berkeley in the V-12 Navy College Training Program and subsequently served in the United States Navy in the North Atlantic. After the war he returned to UC Berkeley, where he distinguished himself as the cartoon editor of the Daily Californian, only the beginning of a noteworthy career in cartooning and humor. He graduated from Cal in 1947 with a BA in Letters and Sciences.
In 1951 Herb met and was instantly smitten by Audrey Eggert of Piedmont; they married in August later that year. The couple initially settled in Oakland and had two daughters, Kimberly and Lindsey. The Stansbury family moved to nearby Piedmont in 1968.
Herb began his career at Miller Freeman Publications in 1949 where he "wore many hats", including sales manager, research director and editor. With his engaging personality, creative flair and passion for language and ideas, he went on in 1966 to form Stansbury and Company, a marketing consulting firm where he advised many business clients in both the US and Canada He simultaneously co-founded Brand Action, Inc., a computerized service for the grocery products industry.
A passionate supporter of collegiate athletics at his alma mater, he was instrumental in revamping the fundraising arm of the UC Berkeley Athletic Department, now known as Bear Backers; he even designed the iconic growling bear logo so familiar to Cal alums. While juggling the demands of his consulting business, he also managed to publish "Bear Flag Republic", a monthly restaurant review newsletter targeting businessmen (and women) traveling between Northern and Southern California.
To many, Herb was best known as the creator of "Smart Chart". Syndicated through the LA Times with a worldwide circulation, Smart Chart was a business cartoon feature which good-naturedly poked fun at corporate culture. A book of his Smart Charts was published in 1993, and Herb became a sought-after speaker at corporate functions. He has since created several other cartoons, including "Offline" and, most recently "Dude", which features Generation Xer skater-type "Dude" and his hilarious interactions with the corporate world. Herb's gift for cartooning and his witty take on the business world earned him the title "the undisputed king of corporate humor".
He relished being behind a podium, and was comfortable speaking to any kind of gathering, ranging from corporate movers and shakers, prize-winning scientists, to classrooms full of school children. With his natural charm and down-to-earth demeanor, he never failed to draw a smile and a laugh from a crowd.
During his multi-faceted business career, which spanned 60 years, Herb served on numerous boards, including San Francisco Federal Savings and Loan (as Board Chairman for 10 years), Mountain View Cemetery, Merritt-Peralta Hospital, Meridian Point Properties, and the SETI Institute. He was a Trustee of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab as well as a member of its Advisory Council.
Over the course of his life he received many honors and recognitions, including the Wheeler Oak Meritorious Award from the University of California Foundation, the UC Director's Citation Award for his contributions to intercollegiate athletics, and the Marcus Foster Distinguished Alumni Award as a graduate of Oakland High School. In 1995 the Bay Area Tumor Institute honored Herb with its "Living Example" award.
Herb had many passions in his life, including Cal Athletics (especially football!), his activities at the Bohemian Grove, particularly with his Highlander campmates (who were, ironically, mostly Stanford alums!), Mark Twain, spicy foods, Scottish bagpipes, cowboy boots, dinners at Trader Vic's, John Philip Sousa marches, single malt scotches, boating trips with his buddies, people watching, counseling young people, doodling on cocktail napkins, doodling on anything!Éand the list goes on. However, the one abiding love throughout his life, and his first priority always, was his family. There was nothing Herb enjoyed more than being surrounded by his wife, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. Family get-togethers were frequent, and were typically punctuated by a thoughtful and articulate toast by Herb, followed by laughter, stories and easy conversation.
Herb will never be forgotten by his beloved wife Audrey, his daughters Kimberly Blue of Kentfield and Lindsey Meyersieck (Ken) of Piedmont, granddaughters Morgan Blue, Melanie Blue, Maddie Meyersieck, Audrey Meyersieck and his grandson Drew Meyersieck. His engaging wit, delightful sense of humor, easy demeanor and sparkling blue eyes will be missed by the many friends and family members who were fortunate to have known him.
A private memorial service for the immediate family was held last week. A celebration of Herb's life will be held on Sunday, September 12th at 3:00 PM.
Gifts in honor of Herb may be made to Hospice (Sutter VNA 1900 Powell St. Suite 300, Emeryville 94608), Bear Backers (195 Haas Pavilion, Berkeley 94720), or a charity of choice.