BILOXI -- In a region that's become a hot spot for tourism, Jack Lamar Stanford Sr. felt right at home. He also did whatever he could to make everyone else feel at home, too.
The 89-year-old "tourism giant" died Saturday, leaving behind hospitality lessons with the many people he worked with over the years.
"Jack inspired people at all levels -- from the janitor to the vice president of sales -- to strive for excellence," said George Schloegel, former Gulfport mayor who met Stanford while he was working as general manager of the Broadwater Beach Hotel, a renowned hotel in Biloxi. "In doing so, he created for the Gulf Coast a premier destination for conferences and general travel."
During his time at the Broadwater, Stanford could be seen walking around the property stopping to pick something up off the ground, Schloegel said.
"It became his philosophy -- the way things look, the way they operate," Schloegel said. "He was meticulous about details. That's why that property looked so great all the time.
"Good to great would have been his mantra. (Broadwater) was the premium property in the state of Mississippi, and as a result, people would come back over and over again because they knew they were getting a tremendous value."
Reed Guice, owner of The Guice Agency in Biloxi, said Stanford was responsible for the creation of the Harrison County Tourism Commission.
"Jack Stanford was a giant in our tourism industry," Guice said. "He was part of that original group that, when I was a young man, were the giants in the industry."
Guice said Stanford's leadership skills were many, as he led many committees, boards and associations across the region.
"He led the tourism industry quietly; he was dignified and always pushing in the right direction," Guice said. "He also had a wonderful sense of humor."
Stanford is survived by his wife of 45 years, Nancy; two sons, Richard and Jack Jr.; and two grandchildren.
"He was a deep believer in Mississippi and the Gulf Coast and what we could do with our Gulf Coast," Schloegel said. "He was a man of his word and a tremendous leader by example; as a result look at what he built. He will really be missed, he's already been missed. What a great example of going from good to great."