Services for Johnnie M. Stewart, 80, of Tyler will be held on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at 10 a.m. at Green Acres Baptist Church Chapel with Dr. Darryle Dunks officiating.
A private burial will be held in Rose Hill Cemetery under the direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home.
Johnnie went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Tuesday, Dec. 4, surrounded by his loving family.
Johnnie was born June 29, 1932, in Tyler to John Alexander and Ada Augusta Biggs Stewart.
He was a graduate of Tyler High School class of 1949, serving as co-chairman for his class reunions. He married the love of his life and his high school sweetheart, Martha L. Foshee, in 1954.
Johnnie attended Tyler Junior College and Landig College of Mortuary Science in Houston in 1952, starting his lifelong career in the funeral business. He received his license as a funeral director
in 1954. Johnnie retired in 2001 after 52 years as co-owner of Lloyd James Funeral Home. He helped direct and assist many families during his lifelong career as a funeral director, including heads of state and dignitaries.
However, retirement did not suit Johnnie. His compassion for people and a desire to help those in need led him back into the funeral business. Johnnie was a Christian gentleman and a man of great integrity. No one was better suited or more talented at his profession than Johnnie. He truly loved people and considered the funeral business a ministry. "We're in a great position to help others, if we do our jobs well," he once said.
In October 2004, Johnnie, with his son Chris Stewart, opened Stewart Family Funeral Home. They had a vision of being able to give up-close and personal service of a family owned business. In 2006, Johnnie received his 50-year recognition as a funeral director from Texas Funeral Directors Association. In 2010, he received the East Texas Funeral Director of the Year Award. When asked in an interview, "What's been the best advice you've been given?" Johnnie replied, "A scripture: Matthew 6:33, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.'"
Johnnie was a member of Green Acres Baptist Church, the Rotary Club
of Tyler and Hollytree Country Club. He served as past president of the Tyler Parks Board as well as a distinguished past president of the Optimist Club of Tyler.
Johnnie was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, George W. Stewart.
He is survived by his loving family, including his wife of 58 years, Martha Foshee Stewart of Tyler; sons, Johnny L. Stewart and wife Janie of Tyler, Chris A. Stewart and wife Carole of Flint; daughters, Lynette Maynard and husband Neal, Lori Morrison and husband Russ, all of Tyler; sisters, Ellen Johnston, Patsy Walker and husband Don, all of Tyler; grandchildren, Brittany Morrison, Brandon Stewart Morrison, Hanna Maynard, Samantha Stewart and Peyton Stewart. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews and many beloved friends.
Pallbearers will be the funeral directors of Stewart Family Funeral Home.
Honorary pallbearers will be Earl Moore, Herb Rawlings, Bill Aven, Louis Jones, Bill Shattuck, Neal Franklin, Leonard Rozell and the Rotary Club of Tyler.
Visitation was scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, at Stewart Family Funeral Home, 7525 Old Jacksonville Highway in Tyler.
The family wishes to express sincere appreciation to the entire staff of Meadow Lake Rehabilitation Center.
Memorials in honor of Johnnie M. Stewart may be made to Green Acres Baptist Church, 1607 Troup Highway, Tyler, 75701; or Marvin United Methodist Church, 300 W. Erwin St., Tyler, 75702.