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Ralph Edward "Boot" Stewart


1925 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Ralph Edward "Boot" Stewart Obituary
STEWART Dec 10, 1925-July 30, 2016 Ralph Edward "Boot" Stewart was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on December 10, 1925. The son of Berthyl and Laura May Stewart, he attended McKinley High School and the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he earned his Bachelor of Science and Masters degrees, starred as center, linebacker and captain of the Missouri Tigers football team and met the love of his life, Maxine Briscoe Stewart. Upon enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II, Boot was assigned to pre- flight schools at Notre Dame, where he earned a varsity football letter, and North Carolina, where he played for legendary coach Bear Bryant. Following the war, he rejoined the Tigers and captained the team in the 1946 Cotton Bowl. His professional football career as center for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Colts was cut short by a head injury suffered during practice in 1949, but he set a record for longest fumble return that stood for more than 60 years. Married in 1946, Boot cherished the following 56 years with Maxine, raising their four children together in Mt. Pleasant and Des Moines, Iowa, where he coached basketball and football for Iowa Wesleyan College and Drake University, respectively, and Vermillion, South Dakota, where he was head football coach and director of athletics. In 1962, the family settled in Columbia, Missouri, where Boot earned his doctorate and joined the faculty of the University of Missouri, serving as Director of Intramural Athletics and Chair of the Department of Physical Education until his retirement in 1991. Deeply committed to the principle that anything worth doing is worth doing right, Boot excelled at academics, highly- competitive golf, table tennis, handball and bridge. He loved dancing with Maxine, who "always made him look good." Active in Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, he was a talented and popular emcee known for his wit and entertaining storytelling. After retirement he enjoyed playing golf anytime the temperature exceeded 40 degrees, and met daily for coffee with his buddies in the "Liar's Club" at the Hyvee in Columbia. He loved his home on Hulen's Lake and his wonderful neighbors who became extended family after he was widowed in 2003. In recent years he has resided at Benton House in Prairie Village, Kansas. Boot cherished his family and was immensely grateful for every blessing in his life. He instilled in his children and grandchildren deep respect for family, education, fairness, and excellence in their chosen endeavors. They fondly recall his stories, frequently quote his favorite sayings and strive to follow his example. He loved dogs and they all loved him. His giant heart, positive spirit and optimistic outlook will be deeply missed by his family and friends. Boot was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife, Maxine, and his brother, Bert. He is survived by his children, Judy and Jim Heeter of Kansas City, MO; Nancy Stewart and John Hargreaves of Market Drayton, Shropshire, England; Tom and Susan Stewart of Mission Hills, KS, and Ron Stewart and Norene Harrison of Grand Junction, CO; thirteen grandchildren, and five great- grandchildren. A memorial celebration of Boot's life will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, August 13, at the First Baptist Church of Columbia, MO. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Ralph E. and Maxine B. Stewart Scholarship Fund at the University of Missouri- Columbia, c/o Mizzou Advancement, 407 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211. M
Published in Kansas City Star from Aug. 5 to Aug. 7, 2016
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10507 Holmes Road
Kansas City, MO 64131
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