Former West University Mayor Richard Burton “Burt” Ballanfant has died of Coronavirus at the age of 72.
Ballanfant served two terms as West U mayor, and his career on City Council spanned 15 years and included being chosen president of the Harris County Council of Mayors and Councils. Most recently, he was elected to council as part of a slate, serving through 2017.
A fifth generation Houstonian, Ballanfant graduated from Lamar High School, the University of Texas, and UT Law School. After law school, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston where he was twice named an outstanding Assistant United States Attorney. He moved to Shell Oil Company as a corporate attorney in 1980.
Ballanfant — who rode a METRO route for years from West University to his job downtown — served for eight years on the METRO board, representing the multi-cities.
Among other civic activities, he was active in parent leadership at West University Elementary School and Lamar High. He was also a member of the Battleship Texas Commission and president of Concerned Citizens for Washington Cemetery Care while that historic cemetery was merged with Glenwood Cemetery.
Ballanfant waged a private battle with Alzheimer’s Disease which became all-too-public in 2018 when he was reported missing by his family and later found on a family property in the Hill Country.
He leaves his wife, Sarah, and children Andrea, Ben and Amy.
Funeral services are pending.