Roger Alan Storey, who served as Davis’ city manager from 1985 to 1990, died Jan. 16, 2013, of complications following a battle with sarcoma cancer that started in January 2010. He was 72.
Storey was remembered as a consummate professional by those with whom he worked, including current Davis City Manager Steve Pinkerton and former City Manager John Meyer.
“Roger was wonderful to work with and inspired and energized staff,” said Meyer, who was Davis’ deputy city manager under Storey and now serves as vice chancellor for administrative and resource management at UC Davis. “His ethical standards were impeccable. He molded many of us in our conception of what it meant to be professional staff.
“He was kind, inclusive and a mentor to many. He represented the best of public service.”
Added Pinkerton, who worked with Storey for about six years at the city of Stockton, “He was a great communicator and a wonderful mentor to junior staff. Roger strongly believed in staff development and encouraged staffers to gain additional training and education. He always attempted to promote from within the organization, as he believed it made for a more dedicated and enthusiastic workforce.”
Yolo Superior Court Judge Dave Rosenberg was a member of the Davis City Council that hired Storey.
“He was quietly competent and laid-back, just what the council wanted at the time,” Rosenberg remembers. “Roger was always the fellow working in the background to get things done. He left the politics to the council.”
Storey was born on Dec. 10, 1940, in Glendale, the son of Lon Storey Jr. and Pearl (Beesler) Storey. He attended Glendale schools and graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in 1958. As a youth, he particularly enjoyed summers at camps in the San Bernardino Mountains and in Sequoia/Kings Canyon national parks. He was a graduate of the University of Colorado, majoring in philosophy with a concentration in political and social philosophy and a minor in economics.
After college, Storey served 5 1/2 years as a supply corps officer in the U.S. Navy. His first ship, a supply ship delivering supplies to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, was based in Norfolk, Va., where he met Phoebe Reed, who became his wife three years later. He spent 1965-66 in Vietnam as an adviser assigned to the Vietnamese Navy. He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received in a bombing attack.
After a year on the Seattle waterfront at a Naval Supply Depot, in 1967-68 he served as logistics officer for the Middle East Force, homeported in Bahrain. He was commended for helping reorganize supply support for the force after the six-day Arab-Israeli War closed the Suez Canal. The Storeys lived in Bahrain and Phoebe occasionally traveled to meet Roger as his ship visited 19 countries bordering the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Indian Ocean.
Roger Storey wanted to pursue a public service career in city management after the Navy and landed his first job as assistant to the city manager in Eureka. He then became assistant to the city manager in his hometown, Glendale. After five years as an assistant, he was appointed city manager of Arcata, on Humboldt Bay in Northern California.
With 12 1/2 years of experience in his career field, Roger, with Phoebe and family in tow, put himself through the master in public administration Program at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He then became city manager of Chino in San Bernardino County on the east side of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. He moved on to Davis, where he served as city manager from 1985 to 1990, his last stint at a municipal helm.
Storey joined a private firm as a recruiter and consultant serving local governments, helping them find high-quality city managers and departmental managers, and recommending solutions to organizational problems. He was recruited by his graduate school to join the senior staff and help pre-career and mid-career students clarify their goals and find jobs that would help them achieve those goals. He worked with students from more than 40 U.S. states and 60 foreign countries.
“His influence in the city manager field was immense, and our profession is better off for the contributions that he has made over the years,” Pinkerton said.
In 1997, Storey was recruited to be deputy city manager of Stockton, focusing on downtown revitalization as well as general management issues. When the city manager retired, he applied for the position, but was not selected. He stayed on the job until late 2003 when he retired at age 63.
In retirement, Storey operated and maintained boats for Delta Keeper, an environmental organization, for several years, then initiated and led a Good Government Committee with the mission of discovering, recruiting and training people in the community with demonstrated leadership skills who might become great candidates for local government elected and appointed advisory positions. When he became ill, he was pleased that others carried on this effort.
Storey was preceded in death by his father, mother and sister Martha. He and Phoebe had four children — Alan, Jeffrey, Julia (Peter Banks) and Adrienne (Will Harling). There are seven grandchildren.
At his request, he will be cremated and his ashes scattered at sea. Scattering will be private. A memorial gathering is being planned in Stockton.
In lieu of flowers or other remembrances, it is requested that donations be made in Roger’s name to the city of Stockton General Fund or to Hospice of San Joaquin with a note designating the Transitions Program.