Rites held for longtime Pryor Mayor Lucy Belle Schultz, 90
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
2/05/13 at 6:10 AM
PRYOR - From managing a paint store to running her own decorating business, Lucy Belle Schultz had already done more than her part to spruce up her community.
But that was nothing compared with what she would do as Pryor's mayor.
Elected to the post in 1991, she promptly began tackling some of the city's biggest needs, including implementing an aggressive street-building and maintenance program and improving city parks.
For those and other efforts during her first term, Schultz - Pryor's first female mayor - was honored as Oklahoma Mayor of the Year in 1993 by the Oklahoma Municipal League.
Lucy Belle Schultz, who went on to serve three terms as mayor plus 15 years on the City Council, died Jan. 31. She was 90.
A service was held Monday at the First United Methodist Church under the direction of Stephens Funeral Home.
It was something Pryor residents had not seen in a while: "Lucy Belle," as most of them knew Schultz, had lost an election.
The 88-year-old Democrat's defeat, in a 2011 runoff for City Council, marked the end of her public service tenure.
Spanning more than two decades, it had begun after Schultz's husband, Bill Schultz, died in 1985.
At the time, she was looking at a couple of options, her son Kurt Schultz said.
"She thought about moving back to New Mexico, which is where she was from. But she also thought about civic government," he said. "Civics had been her favorite subject in school."
The latter won out, and Schultz ran for the City Council.
She won a seat.
Then, in the middle of her first term, encouraged by some local business leaders, she decided to run for mayor.
She won that, too, commencing what would be a three-term run as mayor.
Despite losing her bid for a fourth mayoral term in 1997, Schultz returned to the City Council, where she won multiple terms over the next 14 years.
Among her achievements as mayor, Schultz was proud of the leading role she played in bringing the Thunderbird Youth Academy to Pryor.
She stayed active with the program, a military-style school for high school dropouts, and attended every graduation, where she always sat on stage and often spoke, her son said.
The welfare of the city's oldest residents was also a priority, and Schultz helped bring a transit service to Pryor.
She also kept up a habit as mayor that had begun before she took office: serving lunch at a local senior citizens center.
"Every day - not once or twice a week - every day, she was there, up until the day she died," her son said.
A native of Portales, N.M., the former Lucy Belle Carroll married Gene Schultz in 1939 in Fairwell, Texas.
The couple moved to Pryor in 1952, where they soon became the managers of a Sherwin Williams store.
In 1973, they established their own business, Schultz Decorating, and operated it until 1983.
Although Schultz was undoubtedly honored, her status as the first woman to become mayor of Pryor was something she never talked about, Kurt Schultz said.
"She just had a heart for her town and wanted to do something for it," he said. "She always said, 'Anything good for Pryor, I approve.' "
Survivors include two sons, Bill Schultz and Kurt Schultz; a half-sister, Carol Jean Carter; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: Longtime Pryor mayor, councilor loved public service
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Lucy Belle Schultz: While mayor, she kept up a habit that had begun before she took office: serving lunch at a local senior citizens center. "Every day — not once or twice a week — every day, she was there, up until the day she died," said her son Kurt Schultz.