William E. Stewart “Bill” passed away on June 11th, 2023 at Hemingford Care Center, at age 95. Bill was born on July 16, 1927 to Lyle Jacob and Lorene M. (Smith) Stewart at Mountain View, Missouri. Bill spent his first three years at the family farm at Mountain View. The family then moved back to the Charleston Nebraska area. He spent his younger years in McCool Junction, Nebraska where he graduated from McCool Junction High School in 1944. He enlisted in the Navy in March of 1945 and was discharged in July of 1946. He was attached to the 90th Construction Battalion and was stationed at the Marine Air Base at Opama Japan for several months.
On June 1st, 1948, he married the love of his life, Barbara A. Montague at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Hemingford Nebraska. The couple lived for a short while in Alliance before moving to Chadron. In Chadron Bill and Barbara raised eight children, William, John, Steve, Mary, Bernadette, Anthony, Bridget and Alesia. Chadron was Bill’s home for over 65 years.
Bill had several jobs throughout his life. He first started working as a young boy for the local farmers around McCool from milking cows to driving a tractor pulling a binder. Bill like operating equipment and when he was old enough, he went to work for the H. W. Johnson Construction Co. where he operated heavy equipment on road construction jobs. This experience helped him get assigned to the Navy’s Construction Battalion better known as the “Sea Bee’s”. After he got married, he worked for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in Alliance in the Storehouse and at that time the railroad still used steam engines. In the spring of 1949 Bill moved his family to Chadron where he went to work for Milton Grantham in the Kenwood Greenhouses. He liked raising plants so in 1952 he bought the Log Cabin Greenhouses from Chet Irish. In addition to raising and selling vegetable and bedding plants Bill also raise carnations and mums which he sold to the local florist shop. Eventually Bill started his own florist shop until he sold the business in 1963 to Bill Wiles. In the early greenhouse years Bill also worked for the Consumers Public Power Company as the night shift generator operator. In 1954 while he still had the greenhouses Bill went to work for the Nebraska Highway Department where he eventually worked his way up to Maintenance Foreman, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, and Highway Superintendent at Chadron Maintenance Office. He retired in 1993 after 39 years working for the Nebraska Highway Department.
Bill enjoyed sports and was an avid Husker fan. He also enjoyed gardening and always planted a big garden and lots of flowers around the house. He was a member of the American Legion Post in Chadron for many years.
Bill was proceeded in death by his parents, three brothers, two sisters, his loving wife Barbara, son Stephen and daughter Alesia. He is survived by son Billy and wife Linda of Bigfork Montana, son John and wife Jolie of Chadron, daughter Mary Schnell and partner Steve Wolters of Blackhawk, South Dakota, daughter Bernadette Marquardt and husband Steve of Cedaredge, Colorado, son Tony of Great Falls, Montana, and daughter Bridget Burkhart and husband Tony of Scottsbluff. In addition to 20 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Bill was a devote catholic and was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for over 65 years. Bill never wavered in his faith and trust in his savior Jesus Christ. A rosary will be held on Monday June 19th at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, June 20th at 10:00 am with Father Arul officiating at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chadron. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in Chadron.