First, the standard details: Stewart was a native of Brewton, AL. He graduated from the University of Alabama and from the UA School of Law… and then he practiced law in Florence, Alabama for nearly 50 years. He was a state senator from 1966-1974.

Stewart married my mother nearly 19 years ago – so when the official obit states that he is survived by his wife, Martha, 3 children and 3 step-children and 9 grandchildren, it might interest you to know that we were not an extended/blended family until 5 of the 6 of us were 30 or more years old.

Given that, it is amazing to watch home movies of us as children – one might be tempted to think that we were already family. Or maybe cousins.  One of my early memories is of Stewart holding me and keeping me calm while sweet oil was put in my ear to help with an ear ache.

And so, while I will miss him, and worry about my Mom and how she will cope and get along without his presence, my strongest memories of the time surrounding the funeral are those of the extended family.  Of the comfort of having 8 of the 9 grandchildren make the trip for the funeral (and the 9th wanted to come); of sharing the time with this scattered, extended/blended family in a time of sorrow.

Stewart – you left quite a legacy. Not only in your work life (which you loved dearly) but with the families that you and Mama brought together. The love you two shared spilled over to the rest of us, and we thank you.

I’m so glad I believe in the communion of saints – so I know you are still with us.