Stella B. Werner, 79, the silverhaired lady known as "Mrs. Democrat" in Montgomery County who was a member of the County Council from 1950 to 1962 and its president in 1959, died of cancer Saturday at the Herman Wilson Health Care Center in Gaithersburg.
She was a resident of Fox Ridge Estates in Damascus and had lived in Montgomery County since 1928.
Mrs. Werner was executive director of the Montgomery County Charter Committee from 1942 to 1947, leading the fight for the council-manager form of government for the county.
During her years on the council, she fought for laws prohibiting conflicts in county planning and zoning operations. She was credited as being a major force behind passage of the county's 1962 ordinance prohibiting recial segregation in public accommodations.
When she was elected president of the County Council, an editorial in The Post hailed her as "one of the outstanding public leaders of the county for many years," and said that she stood for "progressive policies and sound governmental practices."
She was defeated for a fourth four-year term to the council in 1962. After that, she remained active for several years with her own news and interniew program on radio, and as author of a weekly column on local government.
In addition to serving on the County Council during the 1950s, she had been chairman of the internal operations committee of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments, and had served on the White House Conference on Children and Youth. In the early 1960s, she was vice chairman of the urban committee of the National Association of County Officials.
Mrs. Werner was a longtime member of the Bethesda United Methodist Church and was a member of the administrative board at the time of her death. She had taught Sunday School for 34 years. She was a lay delegate to the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Church for 20 years.
Mrs. Wener was a native of Baltimore County and a graduate of Goucher College in Baltimore. During World War II, she worked for the USO and the YWCA. In 1952, she was the Democratic Party's nominee for the House of Representatives from the old 6th District.
Survivors include her husband of 55 years, John H. Werner of Damascus; two daughters, Stella W. Allison and Mary W. Rose, both of Damascus; six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Damascus United Methodist Church or the Bethesda United Methodist Church.