Eulogy from Todd W. Evans -
President- Iowa VI
On Wednesday night I was asked if I would say some things today about Kyle Stansberry. My first reaction was there’s no way I could do it. But then I thought about the people that had spoken at my father’s passing and how much it meant to me and knew that it wouldn’t be an option for me not to. Initially I thought that I could come up endowing this and tell a few stories about Kyle but the longer I thought about it the more I thought about stuff that I wanted to say and not forget to mention.
Alfred Kyle Stansberry, the gentle giant, strawberry, big Kyle. Or my favorite Jeeves. A lot of you my only have known him as Kyle. I liked to tease him and call him Jeeves a batman reference to the butler named Alfred. He was the biggest butler I knew. He would always laugh and grin.
I first met Kyle when I started working for the sheriff's office in 2008 through the shop with a Cop program. Kyle was the big guy behind the counter at burger king. Little did I know that he would become a very close friend someday. Kyle thought so highly of the sheriff's office and the reserves that he decided to join us. From day one Kyle put his whole heart into the sheriff's Office and reserve program. He was a very avid rider and every time he rode with me during his training, he was extremely inquisitive and attentive. When we would go on calls and we would finish, he wouldn't just get back in the car, he would ask questions about why I did things a certain way or why I asked certain questions to people. I would constantly quiz him about the road systems in the county, and the laws and policies. After driving for a while I would ask him what road we were on. It only took him a few times before he realized how important it was to know so he could call for help or help someone else in an emergency. Before I knew it he was learning and studying the roads on his own time and he knew how to get around in the county like a pro.
There was many an occasion where we would show up to a call together and I could tell that citizens were in awe of the size and presence that Kyle brought with him. I would make a joke to them by telling them that I had to bring my muscle and protection with me today and more often than not they would laugh and it would set them at ease.
He was the epitome of professionalism while at work, whether it was at burger king or working with me at the sheriff's office. Every time I came into burger king he was always dressed in a shirt and tie and whenever he rode with me his uniform was immaculate. He always addressed customers politely with a smile on his face and anytime I spoke to him whether it was at work, on the phone, or in person, I always got the same greeting from him, "why hello Mr. Evans". In person it was always with a huge smile. He may not have realized this but it did seem odd to me at first that he always addressed me as Mr. Evans, mainly because I was younger than him and my dad was Mr. Evans, but I think it was Kyle’s way of showing respect to me. Not only as a full time deputy but also as his friend. I never told him how much it meant to me.
Riding motorcycles was a passion that Kyle and I shared together. I remember Jeff and I, along with one of Kyle's best friends Travis, were constantly harassing him about when he was going to get a bike so he could come out and ride with us. I remember when he got one. He called me up and was so excited. The first time he made it into town in Ottumwa, I remember he showed up and just happened to catch Jeff and I as we were out riding as well. He pulled up and when he pulled his helmet off, he had a grin from ear to ear. We went on a slow ride around town with him, emphasis on the slow, and we were ready to go home for the day but he just wanted to keep riding. It was a really exciting day for him. Little did I know that we had created a monster. He was hooked on riding. Jeff, Kyle and I went on a lot of rides together all over southeast Iowa and there might have been a few adult beverages consumed along the way but I'm going to have to plead the 5th on that one for now. We just had a lot fun times and he always kept us laughing and Kyle was always in good spirits wherever we went.
On one of our rides I spoke with Kyle about a motorcycle organization that I had learned of known as the blue knights. I told him that it was a non-profit law enforcement motorcycle club that was one of the largest in the world and was geared towards family, safety, charity and fellowship. I spoke with him about wanting to start a chapter in our area and Kyle was all for it. He didn’t let me rest one bit until we got it up and running. He was a charter member of The Iowa 6 Chapter and the first secretary/treasurer. He was always Johnny on the spot when it came to our club matters. Whether it was paperwork, or getting emails or phone calls out to members or making up the agenda for each meeting, he was always on time or let us know when he was running late. Kyle always showed up to the meetings so excited.
One of my best memories was our first ride we took together as club to the freedom rock. Everyone was so excited. One of our first stops was in Oskaloosa and we were riding in formation and pulled up to a stop light. All of sudden I heard some people yelling help, help. I looked back and Kyle had fallen over. He had gone to put his feet down and had got his jeans caught on his pegs and had tipped his bike over on its side. Kyle of course was so embarrassed about this and I never knew that his face could ever be redder than his hair but let me tell you it was. We made it through the rest of the ride that day and luckily the only thing that was hurt was his pride a little and we were laughing about it by the end of the day. I still get a chuckle every time I think about it and don’t think I didn’t remind him from time to time about it.
On December 3, 2012 Kyle Transferred out of the Iowa 6 Chapter in the Blue Knights. He is now a lifetime member of the Heaven 1 chapter.
Kyle had a joy for life and it only took a short while of knowing him to figure out that he was the type of person that you wanted to be around. He never met a stranger. He would drop just about anything to come help you out. He would always do things with his big smile and Cheshire grin like he was up to something and he was going to get you but you just didn’t know when. Anyone that knew him knew that he would light up the room and always had a positive spin on things. He was also a very humble person and did not like to brag but some of you may not know that Kyle was an amateur wine maker. He had even won some awards for his wines. I remember the first time I stopped by and we talked about it about it for hours. He went on and on about all the different wines he had made and I had to stop him repeatedly asking him about all the technical wine terms he was using. I'm going to have to take the 5th again on the number of different wines I tried that day that he made but they were all good at least by my standards. I knew that this was something that he really was proud of and found out that he gave a lot of the stuff he made away as gifts to his friends so if you ever received one or even got the chance to try some, there should be no doubt where you were held in his eyes.
I know how proud I was of him as a reserve deputy and made sure that he knew when he was working with me I didn’t just think of him as a reserve, a part time or rent-a-cop as some people might say, but as a fellow deputy and equal and that I trusted him with my life and I know he took that to heart and great pride in that fact. If you knew him you knew that he lived by a certain set of values and that when it came time to take his oath and the law enforcement code of ethics it was a perfect fit for him.
Kyle while you were here you lived by this and I was proud to work side by side with you as a Deputy Sheriff.
I will always cherish all the good memories of motorcycle rides, county fairs, you teasing the office gals and patrolling the roads of Wapello County with you. You made the nights seem to fly by when nothing was moving but the crickets.
Kyle, you were a father, husband, brother, son, boss, mason, a blue knight, a friend to so many people, and a friend to me. You will be missed deeply in our hearts and minds and never forgotten by all the lives you touched. It was an honor knowing you Alfred Kyle Stansberry and I can only hope that I will ever meet another friend as good as you. I know we can all take comfort that you are now at peace.
Thank you for letting me share some stories and good memories that I will always have of Big
Todd W. Evans
President- Iowa VI