The village of Norwood is mourning the loss of long time business man J.J. Stewart. For more than eight decades Stewart owned an auto dealership. And as Greg Davis reports, he was also a community ambassador.
Outside J.J. Stewart Motors in Norwood, a flag flies at half mast as a salute to its namesake who died early Friday at the age of 102.
Residents often called Stewart “Mr. Norwood” …Former Asphodel-Norwood mayor Doug Pearcy calls him a close friend
Pearcy: His passing is a major loss to the community. he has been an integral part of everything that’s happened in Morwood…a wondeful citizen.
Stewart spent eight decades in the automotive dealership business. Retirement was never considered as up until his death, he remained involved in the Highway 7 business which is now managed by his son John and grandsons Dave and Mark.
In August Stewart said he remains loyal to the business and his customers…
Stewart: I want to wear out, i don’t want to rest out.
Dave Stewart: He just feels every day he needs to get up and go to work and that’s what drives him.
Stewart’s father Fred started the business in 1926 after buying a garage owned by J.J. Duffus. At age 22 Stewart initally worked weekends, then joined Stewart Motors in 1936.
But Pearcy says Stewart’s reach goes beyond business, extending as a tireless volunteer and personal and financial supporter of numerous community programs and groups.
Pearcy: He always knew what he wanted – very firm, and humble. He was very private and never seeked out the limelight. he worked away in the background making Norwood a better place.”
Mayor Terry Low described Stewart as a gentleman and said his death is the loss of an era where a deal was done by a handshake.
It’s a sentiment echoed by longtime friend Fred Weathert.
Fred: he was a very warm, energetic and engaging person.
Family declined to comment Monday as they and friends gathered at the Norwood United Church for Stewart’s funeral.
And Pearcy says the monthly breakfasts with Stewart and other friends wont be the same.
Pearcy: He’s a man that if we had more of, the world would be a better place.