CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF MARY STANLEY; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 190
(Extensions of Remarks - December 03, 2018)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1591-E1592]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                             HON. JIM COSTA

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, December 3, 2018

  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the life of Mrs. 
Mary Stanley who passed away on November 3, 2018 at the age of 91. Mary 
will be remembered as a fearless advocate for women in politics, always 
willing to share knowledge and build leaders in the Central Valley. 
Although she never held office herself, Mary worked tirelessly to 
ensure women everywhere had the opportunity to be elected to local and 
national office.
  Mary Stanley was born on October 7, 1927 in Grand Forks, North 
Dakota. She was raised by her mother Geraldine Reisler and the man she 
considered her father, Morris Reisler, in the Bronx, New York. Mary 
later moved with her mother to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she began 
her first job as a waitress at 14 years old to help her family make 
ends meet. While waitressing, Mary met and married a young sailor in 
1943 and had three children.
  In 1953, Mary married Jay Stanley. In 1961, the couple moved to 
Fresno, California to launch a frozen foods business together. Jay ran 
the sales and Mary managed the business operations for the company. 
Zero Foods achieved much success with Mary and Jay at the helm. The 
couple remained happily married for 47 years.
  At an early stage in her civic involvement, Mary recognized that 
women in the Central

[[Page E1592]]

Valley did not have the same opportunities as women in larger cities. 
This fueled her ambition to advocate and campaign for electing women to 
office. In 1964, Mary joined the Republican Women's Club where she 
became Fresno County's co-chair in Ronald Reagan's successful campaign 
for Governor of California. Mary's advocacy earned her an appointment 
to the California Commission on the Status of Women by Governor Reagan. 
Mary was the only member on the Commission from the Central Valley, and 
she made sure to represent its unique interests and struggles. She was 
eventually elected treasurer and traveled across the state speaking to 
various women's groups about her advocacy.
  Mary joined the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971, where she 
worked in a bipartisan fashion to help run Democratic and Republican 
campaigns. Her dedication and commitment to electing women to office 
was successful. Mary campaigned for many elected officials, including 
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Maxine 
Waters, and former Senators Barbara Boxer, Olympia Snowe, and Nancy 
  In the mid-1970s, Mary joined U.S. Representative Martha Griffiths in 
working for the enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment. Mary changed 
her party affiliation to Democratic, standing strong with 
Representative Griffiths and countless others for the ratification of 
the Equal Rights Amendment. Since joining the Democratic Party, Mary 
became an active member of the Fresno County Democratic Women's Club, 
helping to increase the participation of women in politics.
  Mary was recognized for her work throughout her life. She was honored 
by Fresno's Marjaree Mason Center for her lifetime achievements, 
awarded a Medal of Honor by the Veteran Feminists of America, and given 
the Courage to Run Award by the Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship 
  Mary was preceded in death by her husband Jay and children, Judy and 
Jerry Stanley. She leaves behind her grandson Jerry Stanley and his 
wife Debi Stanley, granddaughter Stephanie Blankenship, and great-
grandsons Justin, Wes, Aidan, Nigel, and Zane.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the life and 
achievements of Mary Stanley. Mary leaves behind a remarkable legacy of 
advocacy and selflessness, which helped change the lives of countless 
women looking to enter politics. She will be missed dearly by those who 
had the pleasure of knowing her.