Mr. Brian Stebbins(1957 - 2012)

Mr. Brian Stebbins, who with the firm Cooper & Stebbins transformed a farm into a new urbanism showpiece renowned around the world called Southlake Town Square, died Tuesday at his home. He was 55.

Mr. Stebbins had a rare neurological disease called Frontotemporal Degeneration, which causes a slow decline in brain function.

Mr. Stebbins made friends for life, many of them going back to when he was growing up in Rockford Ill., his business partner Frank Bliss said.

He was born Sept. 18, 1957. He had success developing projects in Australia, New Zealand and Houston before building Southlake Town Square.

"Brian was, for me, a very unique individual in his ability to see things from 40,000 feet," Bliss said. "Projects like [Southlake Town Square] are hard work every day. I don't think I've ever seen anybody put more energy passion, creativity and good old fashioned elbow grease into a project than I saw with Brian."

Councilwoman Pamela Muller described Southlake and Cooper & Stebbins' partnership as the "perfect marriage." Government buildings like Southlake Town Hall, which houses city and Tarrant County offices, and the post office help make it a downtown, she said.

Mr. Stebbins drew inspiration from around the world, including his mother's hometown in Washington, Iowa.

In December, Southlake honored Mr. Stebbins with a statue in Rustin Park that shows a father tying his son's shoelaces. The statue is visible from Mr. Stebbins' old office.

He's survived by his wife Pattie Stebbins, his son Carter Stebbins and daughter Jenna Stebbins, his mother Sheila Stebbins and his sister, Dianne Stout.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.

The public is invited to a celebration of Mr. Stebbins' life at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Southlake Hilton Hotel.

Published in Star-Telegram on Oct. 3, 2012