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John Stewart

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John I. Stewart

Barefoot Bay, FL

John I. ("Jack") Stewart, of Barefoot Bay, died peacefully after a short illness on August 11, 2013 at the William Childs Hospice House in Palm Bay, FL, surrounded by loving family. Jack died just 11 days before his 97th birthday.

Jack was born in 1916 in Wilmette, Illinois, and was raised in Melbourne, FL, where his family were among the earliest residents of the town. Jack's Great Uncle Charles had come to Melbourne from Illinois in 1888, and opened a hardware store, bank, and mortuary, also serving as the town's 3rd and 11th Mayor. Jack's father Arthur worked at Stewart Hardware until his retirement.

Jack attended Melbourne High, where he played football and basketball. He graduated from the University of Florida (where he became a lifelong Gators fan) with degrees in Accounting and Economics in 1938 before serving as a Captain in the Army during World War II. Jack then earned an additional degree in Accounting from Bentley Business College under the GI Bill, and went to work for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, first as an auditor and then, after a number of promotions, as a departmental manager.

Jack was the oldest of four children of Arthur H. and Mildred I. Stewart. They lived in Indialantic and ultimately on Riverview Drive in Melbourne. Jack's brother Arthur H. ("Bud") Stewart Jr. and sister Mildred ("Babe") Sullivan, both lifelong residents of Melbourne, and sister Clara ("Sis") McClelland, who returned to Melbourne after living for many years in Radford, Virginia, are all deceased.

Jack married Betty Ann Boss, of Baltimore, on August 31, 1947. Over the next 30-plus years, Jack and Betty Ann and their growing family moved to Oklahoma City, OK; Garland, TX; and New Castle, Rosemont, and Williamsport, PA, where he finally retired from Liberty Mutual in 1982. Jack and Betty Ann returned to his Florida roots in 1984, settling in Barefoot Bay. There, he and Betty Ann entertained family and friends, travelled throughout the world, and worked together as volunteers until Betty Ann's death on his birthday in 1994. Jack continued to volunteer with Meals on Wheels, the South Mainland Library in Barefoot Bay, the Sebastian River Medical Center, and Port Malabar Elementary School. Even after his health had made it difficult to be on his feet for extended periods, he continued to do volunteer work for the Library from his home.

Jack is survived by his five children and their spouses, Patricia Stewart of Barefoot Bay, John I. Stewart, Jr. (Sharon Stoliaroff), of Chevy Chase, MD, Barbara Mahoney (Dan) of Andover, MA, Constance Camner (James) of Princeton, NJ, and Margaret Stewart (Ted Merritt) of Swampscott, MA, along with 10 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. He also leaves numerous nephews and nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces in the Melbourne area. Jack was a dedicated family man, who was kind and generous to all. He loved to read and to learn, and was an inveterate crossword puzzle solver. He, and his ready smile and quiet tuneless whistle, will be deeply missed.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations in Jack's memory be made to the South Mainland Library in Barefoot Bay or the William Childs Hospice House, Palm Bay.

Visitation will be held from 5:30 until 7:30pm, Tuesday, at the Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 10:00am at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Interment will follow in the Melbourne Cemetery.

Published in FLORIDA TODAY on Aug. 13, 2013
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