Mayors of Bay City, Texas

The story of the municipal government of Bay City can be told best through the accomplishments of the mayors who have served the city since 1902. Each of the mayors had dreams and aspirations for the community, and, with his elected city council, accomplished goals which contributed to the overall development of the town.

In the beginning, city affairs were conducted in the mayor's place of business or in the old iron-clad, two-story firehouse which stood on the approximate site of the present county museum [Bay City Municipal Court building in 2012]. The building which housed the museum was erected in 1927 as a combination city hall, fire station, and auditorium. Municipal government was conducted in this building until 1965 when the present city hall, situated on the northeast corner of Fifth Street and Avenue H, was built at an estimated cost of $173,116.

William M. Holland 1902 - 1904
Declined 2nd Term

Judge William M. Holland was appointed the first mayor when Bay City was incorporated in 1902. He was elected to a second term by popular vote, but he resigned before the end of the term. He was a representative for the railroad, and the state legislature declared the dual role to be "a conflict of interest." Holland later served as a state senator and district attorney for Matagorda, Brazoria, Wharton, Fort Bend, and Waller counties for 16 years. He resigned this position to accept an appointment as assistant district attorney for Harris County.

William O. Boney 1904 - 1907

William Owen Boney--horse trader, cotton farmer, and merchant--finished Holland's term of office and was elected to serve a second term. His political platform apparently was to make a garden spot of the "Bay Prairie." Many of the trees which beautify the city today were planted while he was in office. Boney is credited with erected the first two-story brick building on the square. That building is presently occupied by several prominent businesses.

John Sutherland
1907 - 1915
1917 - 1919

John Sutherland became Bay City's third mayor in 1907. He was the scion of the Alamo Lumber Company, and he was respected as a shrewd businessman. During his term the first sewers were installed.

Max G. Klein 1915 - 1917
Killed in Office

Max G. Klein succeeded Sutherland in 1915. During the final months of his administration, Klein was short by an unhappy constituent over a water bill. Klein was in the mercantile business, and he had two downtown stores. Shortly before Klein's death, "Uncle John" Sutherland had defeated him in an election; therefore, Sutherland stepped back into the mayor's office to served the remaining months of the old regime. Uncle John remained in office until 1919. Some citizens say he was offered the job for life, but he declined.

G. A. Moore
1919 - 1923

G. A. Moore followed Sutherland, and he served several terms. He was associated with the Union Warehouse and Elevator Company until his death on February 12, 1931. Moore was active in the First Methodist Church and the Masonic Lodge. He also was a member of the school board.


G. A. Moore

Bay City was grievously shocked last Thursday afternoon when the news of the death of a well loved and highly esteemed fellow citizen, Mr. G. A. Moore, was flashed from home to home over the city, the county and the state.

Mr. Moore, manager of the Union Warehouse and Elevator Company, had returned to his home from an active day at his warehouse checking and shipping rice. He was called to the table for his evening meal with Mrs. Moore and son, Glenon, and had just concluded his table prayer of thanks when  the end came. There was only a slight hesitation, but enough to cause Mrs. Moore and Glenon to look up to see his head droop into his hand. There was apparently no pain and certainly no warning of this great shock to the two members of the family present.

Mr. Moore was born in Fingerville, South Carolina, October 1, 1889, and was married to Cora B. Brashear in 1895. Four children, Mrs. C. Luker, “Billie,” Charles and Glenon and three grandchildren of the immediate family survive.

Under Masonic services connected with religious services conducted by the Rev. P. T. Ramsey at the Methodist church this morning at 11 o’clock, the last sad rites were said, after which quite a concourse of Masonic brethren and friends accompanied the remains to Weimar, his former home, where the funeral services were held this afternoon

A more fitting tribute to this splendid man will be published in Saturday’s Tribune.

The Daily Tribune, February 13, 1931

Pat Thompson 1923 - 1931

Pat Thompson, another active Methodist, was elected to the mayor's office in 1923. During Thompson's administration, the old wooden water mains and sewers were replaced with cast-iron pipe; concrete streets were laid (the first in the entire county); concrete culverts were installed to replace the aging wooden ones; and the city's first municipal swimming pool was built by popular subscription. Thompson also guided the city in purchasing the privately owned sewer system. It was to pay for itself through monthly charges to the customers.

Paris Smith 1931 - 1937

Paris Smith, Sr., succeeded Thompson in 1931. Smith's administration was instrumental in the building of Matagorda General Hospital. Smith resigned in 1937 to run for the state legislature.

James C. Lewis 1937

J. C. Lewis was chosen by a special election to serve the remaining few months of Smith's term.

Walter C. Lloyd 1937 - 1941

W. C. Lloyd was elected mayor in 1937, and it was during his term of office that Victor L. LeTulle gave the Gas Company to the city.

Sims Doughtie 1941 - 1947

Sims F. Doughtie followed Lloyd in 1941. Doughtie's administration enlarged the sewer system to accommodate the growing city. The project had been given a $175,000 government grant. During Doughtie's administration, more streets were paved, a new pump house was built, and the city water was chlorinated for the first time.

Richard C. Gusman 1947 - 1979  
Ernest J. Opella 1979 - 1981

Ernest J. Opella assumed the mayor's job in April, 1979, and served one term. He laid the groundwork for many improvements which would come during the next administration. Opella began the push for additional water storage, and he began up-dating the equipment storage warehouse. He also began the drive to computerize the city government.

Glen I. White 1981 - 1985

Glen White was elected in 1981 and served two terms. It was during his regime that the Sixth Street water storage tank became a reality, the disposal plant was enlarged, and an in-house computer system was installed in nearly all departments.

William M. Bell 1985 - 1989

William M. "Bill" Bell became mayor in April, 1985. A government grant was approved for additional above-ground water storage, and the city would once more be placed on the "Approved Water Supply" charts. Architectural plans for a civic center were approved and construction was scheduled  to begin in 1986.

Tommy Z. LeTulle 1989 - 1992  
Charles Martinez, Jr. 1992 - 2004  
Richard Knapik 2004 - 2010  
Mark Bricker 2010 - Present  

List compiled October 21, 2009 by Kenneth L. Thames and updated December 27, 2010.
Biographies were written by Billie Jean Sanford and are from Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 454-456


Mayor Emeritus Richard C. Gusman


Mayor Richard C. Gusman

Richard C. Gusman's tenure as mayor--a love affair that was to last thirty-two years--began in 1947. Among the honors leaped upon Gusman was the title of "Mayor Emeritus." the only such title in the United States; his service is unequaled in length of time spent in office. He was once the subject of "Ripley's Believe It or Not" and of "The American Character," a radio program sponsored by Norman Vincent Peale. The program was broadcast over 250 radio stations on January 1, 1980.

Some of Gusman's accomplishments during his tenure were the completion of the Bay City fire station, expansion of city sewage systems, paving of streets, widening of two major highways through town, and installation of street lights and parking meters. Further achievements included new bridges, storm sewers, increased production and storage of water through a municipal water system, and curbs and gutters. Through the efforts of Gusman and the city council members, recreational facilities included additional swimming pools, a community center, and four lighted Little League fields. During his tenure, the city municipal airport was built and dedicated May 10, 1970, and a $550,000 olympic-sized swimming poll was built with revenue-sharing monies and a grant from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Gusman was active in the Methodist Church, American Legion, Lions Club, and many state and national organizations as well as in civic affairs. He received numerous awards including the Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen in 1958, the Eagles Home Town Builder Award in 1974, and an award for "Exemplary leadership in Conservation and Use of Water Resources in Texas" by the Texas State Conservation Board. For 32 years, he played a major part in the growth of Bay City, and during all of those years, his monthly salary stayed the same--$125 month.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 455-456

Copyright 2009 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Oct. 24, 2009
Dec. 27, 2010