John Stewart II

John Poage Stewart II, 86, died at his home on June 14, 2014. He was born in Frankfort, Ky., on July 4, 1927, the son of Emma Adelia Witherspoon Stewart and John Dowling Stewart. He graduated salutatorian from Culver Military Institute in 1945 and then served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-46. In 1948, he graduated summa cum laude from Washington & Lee University where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

On July 1, 1950, he married Milly Ann Million Stewart of Wichita Falls, Texas; they were blissfully together for almost 64 years. In 1952, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania College of Medicine, where he was inducted to the AOA Honorary Society as a junior. He did his medical internship and residency at the University of Michigan and returned to Frankfort in 1956 to become the city’s first radiologist. He was Kentucky Medical Association President in 1978 and was a recipient of the KMA Distinguished Service Award in 1996.

He had strong civic involvement. He conceptualized and chaired the committee that built the Frankfort Regional Medical Center, opening in 1973. He was chairman of the Farmers Bank Capital Corporation from 1980-98. He was a member Emeritus of the Kentucky History Center Foundation Board. He also served as a director of the Capital Day School and the Frankfort Country Club.

He was a businessman involved as a local regional investor and developer. His interests and hobbies included golf, visiting multiple historic courses in North American and Europe, tennis, skiing, hunting and travel. He loved classical music and philosophy, a true Renaissance man. Though he never completely retired, he and Milly enjoyed their winters in Naples, Fla., and many lasting friendships. 

His career, and indeed, lifelong professional work was the Stewart Home & School. Founded in 1893 by his great-grandfather, Dr. John Q. A. Stewart, he served as the fourth generation director of the private special education residential facility on its historic 90-acre campus amidst a Kentucky Bluegrass farm. His time there spanned 58 years, serving as chairman of Stewart Home & School. He doubled it in size and developed leading teaching programs for the intellectually disabled while providing a home-like atmosphere for its residents. Most importantly, he was a transformational leader and inspired an incredible management team at Stewart Home & School. Their collective achieved goal was the development of one of the premier schools and communities for lifelong education of the mentally handicapped. He was in his home on those grounds surrounded by family when he passed on Father’s Day 2014.

He was a devoted husband and family man and is preceded in death by his sister, Jean Hall Stewart Redmon, and her husband Bronston Ray Redmon.

He is survived by his wife, Milly; sons, Dr. John Dowling Stewart II (Magdalene Karon Stewart) and Charles Witherspoon Stewart; daughters, Jean Ann Stewart Banker (James Baringer Banker) and Catherine Stewart Brown (Martin Shallenberger Brown Jr.); as well as seven grandchildren and their families: P. G. (Leah) Banker III, Ann Stewart Banker (Pearson) Pendergrass, James Baringer Banker Jr., Magdalene Karon Stewart, John Poage Stewart III, Sara Shallenberger Brown and Louis Pellerin Brown; great-granddaughter Elizabeth Dowling Pendergrass; and nephew Joseph Stewart (Catherine) Redmon and their family. The family wishes to thank Carrie Mae Watts who has provided loving care and support for over 40 years.

Visitation with John’s family will be Thursday at the Church of the Ascension, 311 Washington St., Frankfort, Ky., from 10-11 a.m. before the memorial service at 11 a.m., followed by a burial at the Frankfort Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Kentucky Education Fund for Handicapped Children, 837 Isaac Shelby Circle Rd., Frankfort, Ky. 40601; Church of the Ascension, 311 Washington St., Frankfort, Ky. 40601; or the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation 300 West Broadway St., Frankfort, Ky. 40601. Online condolences can be made at www.RogersFrankfort.com.

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  • Dr. Stewart was highly thought of by all.  He was such a kind, gentle man.  Employed by Stewart Home for nearly five years I was always greated with a smile and great warmth.  He seemed to enjoy the band I bring to Family Weekend every year.  Dr. Stewart will be sorely missed by all that knew him.  Peace is now with him and I pray for peace with all that loved him.

    May God be with all of you.

    Martha Masters