Douglas L. Stanley, Wichita community leader, master negotiator and managing partner of the Foulston Siefkin law firm, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer.
He was 57.
Stanley specialized in employment and labor law, representing a number of major Wichita employers over the years in high-stakes union contract negotiations. He was best known for representing Boeing and, later, Spirit AeroSystems.
He had a mind and style that lent themselves well to the complexities and conflict of labor negotiations, say those who knew him
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“Doug was the most perceptive person I ever knew,” said Gloria Farha Flentje, once a partner of Stanley’s at Foulston Siefkin and later top lawyer for Boeing Wichita and Spirit. “He would anticipate what might come forth, and so he was always prepared as a lawyer. Even when things seemed to come out of left field, he was ready for it.”
One of those who sat across the table from Stanley, Bob Brewer, Wichita director for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, remembered Stanley as an opponent he could trust.
“He was very straight-forward in his dealings with me, a real stand-up guy,” Brewer said. “I’m not sure there was a better guy to deal with in those situations.”
Jim Armstrong, a partner at Foulston Siefkin, described Stanley as having an unusual combination of leadership and tact.
“I can’t count the number of times he handled difficult situations with grace and composure,” Armstrong said. “He would sometimes have to make hard decisions, but people understood he was doing it for the good of the firm. He was our leader because we all trusted him. I think that is the best thing you can say about anybody.”
Stanley began his legal career with Foulston Siefkin in 1984 after receiving his law degree from the University of Kansas, where he was editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review.
He was named Wichita Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America, selected by his peers as a Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyer and by Who’s Who Legal USA as a leading employment lawyer in the United States. He was elected as a Fellow to the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers.
Stanley’s contributions spread far beyond the legal arena. He served on a long list of boards over the years, including the boards of Exploration Place, the Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care and the University of Kansas School of Law. He served on, and chaired, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. He was on the Newman University board of trustees for more than six years and was chairman at the time of his death.
Noreen Corrucci, president of Newman University, had worked closely with Stanley since she arrived in Wichita in 2007. His death, she said, will leave a big hole at the university and in the community.
“He had a remarkable faith in God and was so faithful to his family, his colleagues, his community, the university and so many other organizations that benefitted from his faith and his thoughtfulness.”
Memorial contributions have been established in Stanley’s name with Newman University Facing Forward Campaign, the University of Kansas School of Law Endowment Fund and St. Peter Church Building Fund in Schulte.
A rosary will be said and funeral services will be held at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Schulte. The date and time are pending. Webb-Shinkle Mortuary in Clearwater is handling arrangements.