Former Port Isabel Mayor Leo ‘Speck’ Sanders dies

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Former Port Isabel Mayor Leo Floyd Sanders died Monday after battling a brief illness, his family said. Sanders was 90 years old.

Known as “Speck” among family, friends and local residents, Sanders served two terms as mayor — 1966-1970 and 1972-1976 — as well as a stint as interim city manager from 1989-1992.

“He was a big advocate for honesty, integrity and transparency in city government. He was honest to a fault,” remarked Sanders’ daughter, Virginia Guillot during a phone interview Wednesday.

Sanders was heavily involved in the Laguna Madre community, both as an elected official and as a civic-minded volunteer on numerous committees and organizations. He was widely regarded as a knowledgeable source of Port Isabel history, as well as the inner workings of local government.

“He was always one of my go-to people for city business because I always had confidence what he would bring to the table would be a good decision for the city of Port Isabel,” said former City Commissioner David Woolverton.

Woolverton went on to say that Sanders served the city without being political, but rather, with the best interests of the City in mind. What I think he brought to the City was just the mechanics. The basic, well-founded mechanics to the city of Port Isabel. It wasn’t political, and it was for the best interests to the City of Port Isabel,” Woolverton said.

He added that, despite his own personal politics, Sanders was always willing to listen to another person’s point of view. “If it changed why he suspected why he was there, then he would take that,” Woolverton said.

Guillot, the second oldest of Sanders’ four children, agreed. “He may not agree with people but he felt like the public had a right to know. That was his belief. And what he felt government should stand for. It was there to help people and the people that served should be honest,” Guillot said.

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