The Gandys: A Stephenville Legacy

Rachel Tuggle

TheFlashToday.com

STEPHENVILLE (December 13, 2015) – Rarely is a high school basketball game played, or any other school event for that matter, in Stephenville that is not seen by two particular SHS fans – Leslie and Myra Gandy.

The pair are constants in the community and around the school district in Stephenville. They’ve been attending the games at their namesake gym for years and, even though they are currently enjoying their retirement, still attend the play-off games as well.

“We go to nearly all of the home games just because we enjoy watching the kids, and we know the coaches and we respect their work,” Myra said.

But, the Gandy’s have contributed far more to Stephenville ISD than the normal avid fans over the years. They met at Texas Wesleyan University, when they were both studying for their bachelor’s degrees. They married and spent the next several years coaching at different central Texas schools until Les earned his master’s degree and superintendent’s endorsement.

After serving in several different towns, including Huckabay, the Gandys moved to Stephenville, and Les became the SISD tax assessor while the bond issue for the “new” high school was being passed.

“I talked to Myra, and she said whatever I wanted to do was fine,” Les said. “Now, that was a big thing for her to do, because she had just started working on her master’s degree at Baylor in library certification. Myra had to travel one day and spend one night in Waco.”

After earning her library certification, Myra worked as a librarian in Granbury ISD before she became the Stephenville High School librarian a few years later. She worked there for 25 years until she retired. Les also served as the Assistant Superintendent for Finance, the Appraisal District School Representative and Appraisal Review Board Chair.

“It’s been a rewarding experience,” Les said. “The people of Stephenville have been so nice and so kind.”

Gandys

Les and Myra’s interest in basketball began in their high school days. Les played basketball while in high school and junior college, and was able to play while serving in the military as well. He finished his basketball career playing at Texas Wesleyan University.

Girls were not allowed to play basketball, so Myra attended games and “kept the book” and stats for the players. Once she began going with Les, she kept the book for his team as well. Continuing with her practice, Myra kept the book and stats for many different teams over the next 17 years.

“I enjoyed doing that sort of thing,” Myra said. “It’s just something that I’ve done from high school until I quit.”

The Gandys enjoy other sports besides basketball. Their daughter, Leslie Wills, who teaches Spanish now at Stephenville High School, ran track in school and held the open quarter (also known at the 400m) record at SHS until about two years ago (broken by Ashtin Ivey).

“Even when Leslie [daughter] was in elementary school, we probably made all the football games,” Les said. “So, we did that, then we’ve run track meets and helped with basketball tournaments.”

One of the track meets the Gandys have done more than helped with is the Stephenville Optimist Relays. As a member of the Optimist Club, Les helped with the creation of the track meet. The Gandys served for years in the background – Les assisting with the timers and catchers for the different races and Myra assisting with the awards in the press box.

“We didn’t need to be out front or anything,” Les said. “As long as we were there having a good time with our friends, we enjoyed it.”

For their service to the community and Stephenville ISD, the high school named the gymnasium after the Gandys. Les claims that Myra earned the honor for both of them.

“It’s still a very humbling experience,” he said.

So, if you see the Gandys at a basketball game this season, be sure to stop and say hello. Both say they enjoy meeting new people and seeing old friends at the games.

“We’ve got many, many friends that we’ve had a long time, and we enjoy it,” Myra said.


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