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John W. Stewart, Sr., 84, of Keithsburg, Illinois died Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at Great River Klein Center, West Burlington, Iowa.
Services will be on Saturday, March 16th at First Christian Church in Keithsburg. A Masonic Service will begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by visitation from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. (noon), with a Celebration of Life beginning at 12:30 p.m. Serving as pallbearers are John Penrod, Warren Sanford, Sean Morris, Billy Spearman, Kenneth Morris, TJ Harrison, Kevin Mason and Luke Taeger. Honorary Pallbearers are Cork Reid and Vernon Deagan.. Burial will be in Greenmound Cemetery, Keithsburg, with graveside military rites by Aledo American Legion. The family request that in lieu of flowers, memorials be left for Keithsburg Volunteer Fire and Ambulance. Dennison Funeral Home, Aledo is handling arrangements.
He was born March 11, 1935 in Keithsburg, the son of John Willis and Edna Brown Stewart. John attended Keithsburg High School, marrying Mary Balzer May 29th, 1954. Later in 1954 he entered the United States Air Force and was sent to LackLand Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for twelve weeks of basic training. With Mary by his side, he was then transferred to Ethan Allen Air Force Base in Burlington, Vermont. This is where their first daughter, Vanessa, was born. In the fall of 1955, he was transferred to St. Johnsbury, Vermont where their second daughter, Valerie, was born. In the spring of 1957, John was reassigned to go overseas, to Korea. He arrived in Osan, Korea and assigned to the 310th Fighter Bomber Squadron. In late spring of 1957 the 310th was reassigned to Tainan, Formosa where the Chinese were bombing the Island of Quemoy, Tainan. He was later reassigned back to Osan, Korea, where he stayed until the spring of 1958, when his overseas assignment was completed. The family moved to Greenville Air Force Base in Greenville, Mississippi where their third daughter, Veronica, was born. At this time he re-enlisted for an additional six years. The family then moved to Lowery Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. This is where their son, John “Jake”, was born. They remained there until his enlistment was up in 1964 and he was discharged with a good conduct discharge. The Stewart family then returned to Keithsburg. Upon returning to Keithsburg, he owned and operated the Stewart Shell Gas Station. Also known as “Sonny” or “Big John”, he worked various jobs until he settled into trucking. He then became a law enforcement officer, first serving with Keithsburg Police Department and later the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. John and Mary also enjoyed wintering in Florida. When home from Florida, John worked as a part-time Deputy with the Sheriff Office. For over 30 years, John was an active member of the Keithsburg Volunteer Fire Department, serving as Chief for many of those years. John was a 32nd degree Mason and 50-year member of the Keithsburg Masonic Lodge Robert Burns Chapter. He was also a member of Aledo American Legion Fallerans Post 121. In his free time, he enjoyed fishing and hunting; his greatest joy was time spent with family.
Those left to cherish his memory are his daughters: Vanessa Stewart, Valerie (Warren) Sanford and Veronica (John) Penrod all of Burlington, Iowa; son: John “Jake” (Christie) Stewart Jr. of Oquawka, Illinois; 9 grandchildren; 31 great grandchildren with 2 more lovingly expected and his siblings: Gene (Marna) Stewart of Keithsburg, Illinois, James Stewart of Joy, Illinois, Nedra Roderick of Webb City, Missouri and Rita Embrey of Stark City, Missouri.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Stewart on December 5, 2012 as well as his parents and step-parents: John and Virginia Stewart and Edna and Ned “Tuffy” Roderick.
Online condolences may be left at www.dennisonfuneralhome.com.