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William A. Stewart
updated: Mar 17, 2014, 4:30 PM
September 30, 1918 - March 13, 2014
William (Bill) Stewart passed peacefully at Serenity House on Thursday having
attained 95 years-of-age. Born in Portland Oregon, Bill was raised by a Scots-
Irish mother and Irish grandmother. It was Bill's great joy to be adopted (at
13 years-of-age) by Fred A. Stewart. His mother's new husband provided a sorely
missed male role model and changed the course of his life. In young adulthood,
Bill graduated from Stanford University (BA and MA in political science) and
began the rise-through-the-ranks to Colonel in the U.S. Air Force (as "test
pilot.") During his service, he worked at the Pentagon (as "Briefer for the
Joint Chiefs of Staff") and later received his PhD at UCLA while yet in uniform
and engaging in government research at the RAND Corporation. Enjoying
vocational success, still he placed even greater store in relationships.
Offered a position as Assistant Secretary of State for Ronald Reagan, he
declined in order to companion his second wife through chemotherapy treatments
for cancer. He dearly loved his children (taking them most summers on camping
trips to Bridgeport, CA and supporting them in all their endeavors) and he
appreciated his good fortune in wives. (Well, he loved women generally - a bit
of a ladies' man!) There were three wives who shared with him different stages
of his life's journey: Betty Petersen Stewart, Margaret Hodgkins Stewart (mother
of his surviving children,) and Marion Alvarello Fraser Stewart. Bill imparted
another of his passions, a love for wine, to Marion Stewart's son, Peter (who
became an oenologist.) While Bill had experienced impressive adventures living
in various European countries in his young adulthood (supporting an Italian
opera singer in Italy,) it was later in life - within semi-retirement - that he
discovered his strongest passion: tennis. He was a tennis club lizard,
lingering for hours to pick up stray games. A natural for someone who carved
his early retirement in Santa Barbara, CA! When he wasn't busy tearing up the
courts, he helped found the "Camerata Pacifica" while overseeing Stewart
Orchids, a company begun by his father in 1949. He lived a robust life always
adopting a positive attitude (his children's mother had marveled, "He awakes
cheerful, each morning!") Bill cherished his family, and was greatly loved by
them. So many of his qualities, and of his being, shall be held dear by family
members and lifelong friends across their lives!
William Stewart is survived by three children: Michael M. Stewart, Ian A.
Stewart, and A. Arabella Stewart as well as by three grandchildren: Wade Cowper,
Ashley Stewart, and Ian Stewart, Jr.. Margaret Stewart, cherished mother of his
three, surviving children, pre-deceased her husband. Pamela Stewart Leamon, a
beautiful being born of his first marriage, also pre-deceased her father.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. at the
Unitarian Society Sanctuary, 1535 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be honored by your remembrance of their
father with a contribution to any of the following Santa Barbara foundations:
Serenity House, Camerata Pacifica, The Music Academy of the West, or - outside
Santa Barbara and in the tennis domain - to the Pete Brown Scholarship Fund
(promoting junior tennis development for inner-city youth): www.pbsf2009.com.
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