Kenneth Michael "Mike" Stansbury
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LAFAYETTE - Kenneth Michael "Mike" Stansbury, 82, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Lafayette on Monday, August 19, 2013. Born in Abbeville, Louisiana on November 17, 1930, Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Landry and Beulah Stansbury. He is survived by his wife Andree Stansbury, one daughter Noelie Crapeau, granddaughters Sarah Neal, Elizabeth Bonura and Jessica Boudreaux, five great grandchildren, a sister Debra Austin and brother Randy Stansbury.
After attending Abbeville High School, he graduated from SLI in Lafayette where he earned degrees in Business Administration, History, and Art Education.
Mike's artistic creativity, joie de vivre, passion and drive allowed him to enjoy and excel at one "hobby" after another throughout the years, winning awards and recognition for everything he tried: scuba diving, recipient of NOGI awards, spear fishing, hunting, photography, recipient of the Photographic Society of America Wilford Kimber, Sam Vogan awards, and innovative art work and sculptures to name a few. Mike was also a Life Master bridge player.
Mike had great influence on the sports of body building and weightlifting, where he coached the university's first national collegiate championship. He was instrumental in the development of weight training, Olympic weightlifting and body building in Louisiana and as a result, the whole approach to athletic training was revolutionized. He opened Lafayette's first health club, "Mike Stansbury's Health Club" where he introduced Red Lerille to Lafayette. Mike was inducted into the "Order of Living Legends" by the Acadian Museum of Erath because of his support of the program at SLI.
In the 1960's, the Stansbury's closed the health club after inheriting the family's beer distributorship. The business flourished and Mike took it to new heights. For five consecutive years he was awarded Schlitz's highest honor of becoming a member of the "Inner Circle" and traveled the world with his wife Andree, photographing and collecting treasures to place in their home.
Mike spent his last six months battling cancer at home with hospice. His male nurse, Iggy, was truly loved by Mike. Iggy provided the support and genuine warmth that formed "The Team" of Mike, Andree and Iggy. "The Team" made it possible for Mike to thrive and enjoy life to the fullest until his passing. Mike was surrounded by his loving wife, family and many close friends.
Mike was knowledgeable and talented, continually challenging himself professionally, personally, and artistically. He was friendly, kind, witty, and was generous to a fault. Above all, Mike was devoted to Andree, his wife and soul-mate. He shared his love of life and art with her to the very end. Even as he became weaker, his spirit was untouched and he remained excited to be creating one last sculpture together. Working slowly with a chisel and mallet he visually discovered the precious beauty hidden within the wood he used as his medium. Collaborating with his usual accomplice, Andree, they decided the direction of this special sculpture. With the help of his dear friend Ben, and under Mike's supervision, the wood was sculpted; leaving Andree to take it to completion. This last sculpture stands proud, symbolizing the strength of their unbridled devotion and adoration. As a result of Mike's many years of work, we are left with a multitude of beauty in countless forms. These works of art adorn the interior and exterior of their home, creating a gallery of art spanning their life together. During their "Art Affair: A 55-Year Retrospective", an exhibit that will be hard to rival, Mike and Andree generously shared as many of their works as could fit into the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette.
Mike's incredible life was filled with passion and zeal. He traveled the world with his wife, collecting treasures from near and far. But it was mostly at home creating a beautiful and unique space throughout the years that made him happy. As they danced together to the music that no one else could hear, Mike and Andree surrounded themselves with the beauty of their love.
To meet Mike was to love Mike, as his personality was sprinkled with a unique wit. To be loved by Mike was an honor.
It was Mike's wish to be cremated. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Donations in Mike's memory may be made to Hospice of Acadiana, 2600 N. Johnston Street, Suite 200, Lafayette, LA. 70503
Published in the The Advertiser from Aug. 25 to Aug. 28, 2013