John W. Stewart

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

NEWPORT NEWS—John W. Stewart, 78, died June 30, 2008, after a short illness.

Mr. Stewart was a retired music educator with the Newport News City and Isle of Wight Public School System.

His interests and lifelong pursuits included cooking, reading, and gardening. He originally hailed from Charleston, S.C., where he was educated in the public school system.

As a young man, he left Charleston to attend Hampton Institute where he majored in music education.

With music being a constant thread in his life, from the mid-1960s and through the years, he played with several local musicians including, Ben Dale, Jesse Powers, Jap Curry, Rudy West and Eddie Cooke.

For a time he led his own group called the Wendell Stewart Ensemble.

He was considered &uot;Saxophonist Extraordinaire&uot; and played eloquently for more than 55 years. He was a member and Trustee of Bethel AME Church in Hampton.

He was greatly depended upon at Bethel and provided faithful service for many years prior to his illness.

Survivors include his five children, Temple Rene Stewart, Pamela Regina Stewart, and John W. Stewart of Richmond, Paula Eugenia Hawkins (Shawn) of Laurel, Md., and Vincent Lynn Stewart of Miami, Fla.; two grandchildren, Sydney Lumet Stewart of Richmond and Arianna Stewart of Laurel, Md.

He also leaves Rebecca Newsome, devoted friend, companion and confidante.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bethel AME Church, Hampton.

Interment will follow at Parklawn Memorial Park. Family and friends will assemble by 9 a.m. Saturday at 226 Hickory Ave., Newport News.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Ronald C. Perkins Funeral Home.