LAKE HAVSU – Visitors who enjoy Havasu’s English Village and city services are really experiencing much of Vall Striyle’s passions and hard work come to life.
Striyle, who died recently at the age of 82, is behind many of the iconic attractions that have given Havasu its unique identity before getting involved in local politics.
He came to Havasu in 1969 and helped construct the London Bridge, brick by brick, until it spanned across the Bridgewater Channel. He led crews in laying the bridge’s many stones for nearly three years. Then, he continued by perfecting other details of the bridge until the job was done in 1971. Jan Kassies, the director of visitor services at the Lake Havasu City Visitor Center, said Striyle was an expert he often called with questions.
“He said this one thing that I loved, and I still use it on my walking tours. He said the London Bridge gave us our identity, and I like that because it really happened. Without the London Bridge, we would just be another village on the river,” Kassies said. “I will miss him and I’ll miss him as my source for the London Bridge.”
The bridge isn’t the only thing Striyle’s fingerprints remain on. Kassies said that one night Striyle and a few others during dinner took a napkin and sketched out ideas for the London Village’s fountain, which has since become a favorite photo spot for tourists.
Striyle’s work didn’t stop at the gates of the English Village. He served on Lake Havasu City Council between 1998 and 2006 eventually being appointed vice mayor. Former City Councilman Sam Scarmardo said Striyle remained a frugal and conservative member of council during his service.
Steve Greeley, also a former councilman who served alongside Striyle for two years, agreed.
“He was the Scrooge on the City Council when it came to spending, him and Sam Scarmardo. He was extremely frugal when it came to spending taxpayer dollars. He would vote against the majority if he felt strongly about it because he was a man of integrity, and you don’t find that much anymore, I’m sorry, but you just don’t,” Greeley said.
Greeley said he and other members of the council would depend on Striyle’s input and construction expertise when the city’s huge and expensive sewer project came around in the early 2000s.
“He was the go-to guy when it came to understanding the project as a whole and he would definitely give us the honest answer,” Greeley said.
Former Lake Havasu City Mayor Harvey Jackson called Striyle a true pioneer who made himself an asset to the community for five decades.
“For me at least, Vall was a genuine stalwart on the council. He was very supportive of balancing the budget. As a matter of fact, only a minority of the council was in favor of holding spending down, and Vall was very analytical and knew a lot of the facts on the budget,” Jackson said.
Striyle was also appointed to the Lake Havasu Planning and Zoning Commission, was involved with the building of the new City Hall, Fire Station #2, and the Fire Department training center. He was an active member of the Republican Men’s Club, Rotary, Elks, Eagles and served on the board at the Lake Havasu Senior Center. He also worked for 10 years as the general manager at Havasu Landing Resort.