Join us on Thursday, November 9, 2023, for a LUNCH (12:00-1:30pm) meeting at The Phoenix, for a presentation by Richard V. Stewart, 102-Year-Old Army Veteran.
Richard Stewart, 102 years of age, was born and raised in Marion, Indiana. He grew up on a farm with three sisters and four brothers. It is there, he says, that he gained his values, his strong work ethic and lifelong determination to always do his best and remain faithful to his commitments.
Despite facing segregation and many other racial barriers, particularly in his earlier years, Mr. Stewart remained focused throughout his life on setting and achieving goals, and always stressing the importance of education.
Upon graduating from high school in 1939, Mr. Stewart worked for three years to save enough money to put himself through embalming school. While taking classes in 1942, he received his military draft notice. Fortunately, he was able to complete his final examination before being inducted into the U.S. Army on Dec. 31, 1942. Mr. Stewart had already finished his army training and was stationed in England before learning in a letter from his mother that he had passed the examination and received an embalming license.
His specialized army training was in communications, specifically as a linesman responsible for installing and repairing telephone lines under the combat conditions surrounding the D-Day invasion in June of 1944. His unit of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, while prohibited by segregation from landing alongside white soldiers, followed the first waves of troops to run vital communications lines throughout the war-torn area.
Returning home after the war, Mr. Stewart sought a job as a linesman during a boom era in the field of communications. Nevertheless, discrimination prevented him from landing a job in this specialized field. He decided to put his embalming license to work at a funeral home in Muncie, Indiana. He then moved to Cincinnati in 1953 to join Houston and Sons Funeral Home. It was in Cincinnati where he met his wife, Pauline.
To provide additional income for his growing family, Mr. Stewart became a nurse’s assistant at Drake Hospital (now Drake Center). Next, he furthered his education and became a LPN (licensed practical nurse). He maintained his job with the funeral home, working the night shift at Drake and at the funeral home during the day.
Mr. Stewart retired from Drake in 1987 after 23 years. Professionally, he continued to devote his full attention to the funeral business until just this past year, when he retired from the funeral business. He maintained a funeral director’s license and embalming license, completing the required CEU (Continuing Education Unit) requirements annually.
Richard has one surviving sibling, a sister who is 90. He has three children, 12 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
Two of Richard’s favorite sayings are, “I don’t let any grass grow under my feet” and “a little hard work never hurt anyone.”
This meeting is sponsored by Steve Drefahl.
This week we will have Classic Buffet with salad, chicken, short ribs, and seasonal veggies.