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Catherine Ellen (Jett) Stewart

1925 - 2019
Catherine Ellen (Jett) Stewart Obituary
Catherine Ellen Jett Stewart, Catherine Stewart passed away on November 15, 2019 in her Harbor Springs, Michigan home in the presence of her family. She was 94 and had lived in Harbor Springs since 2013. Catherine was born on July 25, 1925 to George Carl Jett and Grace Barnes Jett in Detroit, Michigan, the younger of two daughters. As a girl, Catherine began playing piano alongside her father who played “by ear.” Piano lessons quickly ensued for Catherine. She graduated from Northwestern High School in Detroit in 1941 at 16 years of age. She then attended Wayne University in Detroit, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree. At Wayne University, Catherine met Frederick Anson Stewart where both played in the band – Catherine on saxophone and Fred on trumpet. During WWII while Fred was stationed in Europe, Catherine continued her studies at Wayne and played piano in USO shows and events. After Fred returned home from Europe, they were married in August of 1947. In the late 40s and early 50s, Catherine was a music teacher in the Highland Park public school system in Detroit and also played piano in “piano bar” venues. In 1953, she and Fred began their family with the birth of son Gary followed three years later by son Ken. Catherine left teaching in the public schools to become a private piano teacher working out of their home – a dedicated profession that she would pursue for many years. Catherine was gifted at producing musical variety shows in the community to raise money for the local school music programs. She created the show concepts, convinced members of the community to sing and dance, led the rehearsals and directed the productions called “Showtime.” Catherine and Fred were founding members of the Grosse Ile “Band Boosters” organization. Upon Fred’s retirement from a successful career in automotive engineering in 1980, they moved from Grosse Ile, Michigan to Punta Gorda, Florida. She produced variety shows there too, creating longtime friendships among the cast members. Catherine is remembered as a talented musician, teacher, producer of community musical shows and supporter of the arts. She was especially appreciated for her ability to accommodate the needs of instrumentalists, singers and ensembles including a remarkable ability to adjust key signatures. Catherine made music fun for everyone. Catherine was preceded in death by her husband Frederick Anson Stewart and by her sister Virginia Jett Callahan. Catherine was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Harbor Springs. She is survived by sons Gary Frederick Stewart (Susan) and Kenneth Carl Stewart (Jan), niece Barbara Callahan Whitney (Robert), four married grandsons Cory (Monica), Andrew (Katharine),Vaughn (Gwen),Bill (Lucie) and three great grandchildren. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, December 7 at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Harbor Springs, followed by a 3 pm. reception at Perry Farm Village in Harbor Springs. Those wishing to honor Catherine’s memory may do so by making a contribution to the “Catherine Stewart Memorial” fund at First Presbyterian Church of Harbor Springs Michigan (7940 Cemetery Rd., Harbor Springs, MI 49740) which will benefit the arts and music program at the Church, or the .
Published in Heritage Newspapers on Dec. 1, 2019
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