William A. Stewart Jr.
William Andrew “Bill” Stewart Jr., 77, joined the church triumphant Monday, Nov. 28, 2011.
Born March 12, 1934, in Gastonia, to William A and Virgie Stewart, Bill was a graduate of Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va.
Ordained in 1962, he was an active Presbyterian minister for 49 years, serving congregations in Morven and Charlotte; Cheyenne and Burns, Wyo.; Gloucester, Va.; and four churches in Moore and Harnett counties, including Cypress, Cameron Hill, Lakeview and, most recently, as pastor of Union Presbyterian Church, in Carthage. He also served as the executive of Orange Presbytery (N.C), Memphis Presbytery (Tenn., Mo.) and the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.
Rev. Stewart was respected and loved as a church leader, serving his congregations with care and compassion, skillfully leading them through growth and change. Of significance was his tenure at Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church in Charlotte during the challenging civil rights era, an experience he claimed shaped his career in ministry. He embodied the term “churchman,” serving his denomination and its local churches tirelessly.
He also had a long and distinguished military career. He joined the Marine Corps in 1953 and often referred to Parris Island as the turning point of his life. After an honorable discharge, college and seminary, he rejoined the armed services as a Naval Reserve chaplain. He had many assignments, including service as chaplain for the 4th Marine Division and responsibility for chaplain deployments in Desert Storm. He retired from the Navy in 1994 after attaining the rank of rear admiral.
Active in community affairs, Bill served on the school board in Gloucester, Va., and as chair of the board of trustees of the William Black Lodge, in Montreat, as well as being involved in other civic organizations. He was frequently seen about Moore County in one of his classic cars, which were his passion.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sarah Margaret McLeod; his sister Frances and husband, Keith Franklin. of Dallas, N.C.; his daughter Rachel Stewart and husband, Jeff Ruppenthal, of Davidson; sons, Wiley, of Charlotte, and Alexander (Sandy) and wife, Carol, of Carthage; and five grandchildren, Ian Ruppenthal, Samuel Ruppenthal, Martha Grace Stewart, Virgie Stewart and Palmer Stewart.
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime; weeping my tarry for the night but joy comes with the morning.” — Psalm 30
A service of witness to the resurrection will be held at Union Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, with the Rev. Dr. John W. Coker officiating. Burial will follow, with full military honors, in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may made to the William Black Lodge, P.O. Box 819, 329 North Carolina Terrace, Montreat, NC 28757 (WilliamBlackLodge.org), or Union Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 898, Carthage, NC 28327. Online condolences may be made at www.Pines Funerals. com.
Fry and Prickett Funeral Home is serving the Stewart family.