Cover photo for Robert Earl Stewart Jr. 's Obituary
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1953 Robert 2022

Robert Earl Stewart Jr.

March 12, 1953 — July 9, 2022


On July 9, 2022, Robert Earl Stewart, Jr. passed away unexpectedly in Avondale Estates, GA.  A memorial service will be held at the First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta on August 6, 2022, at 4 p.m.


Robert was born March 12, 1953 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL, to Onella and Robert Stewart Sr. He grew up in Birmingham, while spending summers with his grandmother in Double Springs, AL along the shores of the Sipsey River and Lewis Smith Lake.


Robert was a brilliant and driven student. He attended Woodlawn High School, where he played baseball and basketball and was elected President of the National Honor Society, President of Hi Y, Vice President of Math and Chess Club, and was a member of Latin Honor Society, debate squad, Boy’s State, Good Citizenship Tour, Warblers, Euclidean Honor Society, Student Council and Cabinet, and was voted Most Likely to Succeed. At Woodlawn, he also received the Harvard Book Award, the Bausch and Lomb Award, and Latin Award. He was chosen to be the Colonel of his graduating class, which was an honor selected by faculty from the ten boys in his year with highest grade point averages. He was also one of the two students from the state of Alabama selected as Presidential Scholars for the year 1970; as part of this award, he visited Washington DC, where he met the President of the United States.


After graduating high school, he enrolled at Princeton University, where rowed crew and sang in Glee Club. He initially worked in a few jobs, including as the manager of the restaurant at Birmingham Country Club, before finding the field which turned out to be his career, which was selling large-scale computer controlled cutting and grinding manufacturing machines. When he retired in 2016, Robert was the Southeast Regional Sales Manager for Toyoda Machinery USA, the position which he held for the majority of his 25 years with Toyoda. During his time with Toyoda, he was repeatedly awarded salesman of the year and found great joy in the relationships which he fostered with his customers and coworkers. He had the mind of an engineer and seeing the products created by the machines he sold brought him immense satisfaction.


In 1982, while visiting his sister, Anita, in Atlanta, he met Carol Clark Johnson at the First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta. As it happened, the "First E," as it is known by its patrons, became his place of worship. Within three months, Robert had moved to Atlanta and he and Carol married at Callanwolde in 1983. After four years in the Lake Claire neighborhood of Atlanta, in 1987 Robert and Carol bought the home in Avondale Estates where Robert would reside for the remainder of his life. Robert was extremely active in the Existentialist Congregation, serving for years on the Board of Directors, including a period as the Board’s Chairman. Robert was also active in the Avondale Community Club, where he also served on the Board.


Robert and Carol’s only child, a son, Robert William (“Will”) Stewart, was born in 1991. Robert was an enthusiastic and engaged father. He was an active leader in Boy Scout Troop 6, where Will was an Eagle Scout. Robert loved camping trips with the Troop, serving as the instructor for merit badges, and serving on the leadership board even after Will was off to college at Auburn. While at Auburn, Will met Elizabeth Coulter, who he married, after five years of dating, in a wedding on Jekyll Island in 2019. In February of this year, Robert welcomed his first grandchild, Grace Lee Stewart. As anyone who met Robert on his frequent walks can attest, Grace was a source of constant joy and pride for Robert and Carol, who visited Will, Elizabeth, and Grace as frequently as possible during the five months of life they shared. His lifelong love of children found its crescendo when he finally had this grandchild of his own as well as the time to dote on her.


Robert was an avid outdoorsman all his life, enjoying hiking, camping, fly fishing, paddling, hunting, and any other pursuit which put him in closer contact with nature. After his retirement, he also began playing tennis with a group in Avondale. He was a voracious reader and enjoyed everything from classics, to philosophy, history, novels, scientific journals, sci-fi, the funny pages, and even Will’s law school textbooks. His interests were catholic and his desire to learn was unending, to the extent that his first inclination after retirement was to explore going back to school in his mid-60s for the sheer joy of learning. He also loved to walk in the neighborhood and cherished the opportunity to socialize with anyone he met along the way. All who met him knew him for his wide smile and engaging personality.


Robert is survived by his beloved family, Carol Stewart, Will, Elizabeth and Grace Stewart, his mother Nell Stewart Wetzel, sister Anita Stewart (Sam Austin), cousin Steve Campbell (Nan), Lynda Campbell, stepbrothers Steve Wetzel (Robin), Glenn Wetzel (Marybeth) and other family members and many dear friends.


Masking is mandatory in the sanctuary of First Existentialist Congregation (470 Candler Park Dr., NE, Atlanta). There will be a reception outdoors after the service.


In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in memory of Robert can be made to the First Existentialist Church of Atlanta.


 


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Family Hosted Service

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta

470 Candler Park Drive Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30307

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