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George David Stewart

Obituary for George David Stewart

November 22, 1938 - August 4, 2020
Universal City, Texas | Age 81

Obituary

Lieutenant Colonel George David Stewart, "David", a Fifth Generation Texan whose ancestors were citizens of the Republic of Texas, finished his life in triumph when he died in his home surrounded by family on August 4, 2020 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease and cancer.
Born November 22, 1938 in San Antonio, Texas to Mary Kaine and Arthur Cheeseman Stewart, David grew up in Matagorda and Bay City before moving to Houston to attend the University of St. Thomas where he met the girl of his dreams, Marilyn, who became his wife of 56 years when they married on September 7, 1963.

On the eve of their 50th wedding anniversary, he wrote this about their years together:
"Fifty years ago, tomorrow, I married the girl of my dreams, and she is still the girl of my dreams who still makes my heart jump with joy when she walks in the room. We have shared a wonderful life together and I hope that through the grace of God, we will have many more years together before the Lord calls us home. Her love and faith in me have been the driving force in my accomplishments as a husband, father and man. There would have been no successes without her. She has endured the stress of reestablishing a new home many, many times; being separated from soldier in peace and war; raising our four children and a grandchild; and putting up with me and my idiosyncrasies and health problems while still smiling and saying "I love you." I am so lucky and happy that she was brave enough to say yes to my offer to love her and take care of her for as long as we live. Marilyn, you are the girl of my dreams, and I love you so very much."
Throughout his life, David went by many names and played many roles. To his four children Stephen David Stewart, Patrick Albert Stewart, Christopher Warner Stewart and Mary Cecile Stewart-Oliver, he was "Papa" and later just "Pop". To his grandchildren, including one he raised as a daughter, Jocelyn Nicole Stewart-Closson, and his other seven grandchildren: Kiska Daegan Varela-Stewart, Tristan Doyle Varela-Stewart, Austin Warner Stewart, Brandon Cade Stewart, Christopher Rodrigo Stewart, Jenining Campbell, and Keeley Natalia Oliver, he was simply "grandpa". To his great grandchild Zahr, his name was unspoken but acknowledge with a baby's smile. To the children he invited into his home and raised as his own for a time, most notably Sarah Bray, he was Mr. Stewart. To his deceased brother, Scott Stewart and his sister Mary Cecile Crawford, he was little brother. To friends, he was David. To very many nieces and nephews, he was Uncle David. To others, he was Colonel Stewart, "The Boss", and to a lucky few Cub Scouts, "Akela".

We measure success in many ways. Some amass great wealth, others dazzle us with their talents, and some like David succeed through their service to others. If service to others could be counted in dollars, David would have been a billionaire. He earned a B.A at The University of St. Thomas in Houston, and after one year in law school at The University of Houston, he enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War. In 1963, after completing Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he received a commission and later became a member of the elite Army Rangers.

While serving in Vietnam, David demonstrated his bravery and selflessness most notably when in the dead of night, under shellfire from the enemy, he rushed across camp and ripped the door off the mess hall in order to extinguish a light that the enemy was using as a target for their barrage, possibly saving the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. For this valor in combat, the Army awarded him the Bronze Star. Despite the hardships of battle, he always kept his sense of humor and loved to relate a story of how an extremely venomous snake had slithered into his tent (he had a lifelong fear of snakes) and upon seeing it, he unloaded an entire clip of ammunition from his M-16 to kill it. David never received a Purple Heart for his service to his country in Vietnam, but complications from his exposure to Agent Orange during his tour of duty ultimately led to his death.

David also served in Murphy Dome in Alaska, Dyess AFB, Ft. Bliss, Ft. Hood, Ft. Sill, Ft. Lee, before the Army sent him to study journalism. In 1974, he received a Master of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas where he was inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, the Journalism Honor Society. While his studies brought him to Kansas, his children remember his time in Kansas most for the days he spent on university sponsored trips such as frog hunts, fossil gathering missions, and, yes, snake hunts.
David's master's in journalism led him to service at the Pentagon with the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Department of the Army, where his primary responsibility was coordination of the Army's celebration of America's Bicentennial. During this time, he also took on a job as Pack Master of the local Cub Scout Pack where, during awards ceremonies, he wrapped himself in a colorful blanket, donned an authentic native American headdress, and painted his face to become "Akela", the leader of the pack. He remained active with the Scouts for years after his sons had reached adulthood and was awarded the prestigious Silver Beaver award for his service. It was here also that he began his interest in philately (stamp collecting), an interest he shared with all his children to some degree. He spent many Saturdays picking through stamps with his children at the local stamp store known as the Postal Bell. Stamps led to coin and postcard collecting.
David served in the Army for 24 years and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving, he had numerous assignments in the Air Defense Artillery, as well as, public affairs assignments. His jobs took him from coast to coast and overseas to Würzburg, Germany, and the Greek Island of Crete. He notably served two years as the Deputy Chief of Public Affairs at Sixth US Army in San Francisco; and four years as Chief of Public Affairs at Fort Bliss, Texas. In 1985, he continued his graduate education in Public Affairs at the Army Advanced Public Affairs Course at the University of South Carolina before retiring in El Paso where he volunteered to help with the Texas Sesquicentennial.

In El Paso, he became the Manager of Communications for the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and editor of EL PASO MAGAZINE and, later, Vice President of El Paso View Publishing Corporation and Executive Editor of EL PASO VIEW magazine. In 1990, he received a Master of Education in Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso and then served as the Administrator of Our Lady of Assumption School in El Paso. In 1991, he moved to Universal City, Texas, to become the National Executive Director of the American Volkssport Association (AVA).

In 2002, he began what he considered his dream job – Director of the Alamo. He loved this job more than any other and took greater pleasure in telling anyone who wanted to hear that he occupied an office that housed Sam Houston's desk and sword. During his time at the Alamo, he oversaw the completion of a full, state-of-the-art renovation of the Long Barrack Museum and landscaping projects that greatly enhanced the beauty of the historic shrine to Texas liberty and independence. He also developed a master plan that included development of financial resources to ensure further preservation and expansion of the Alamo. While director, he met many celebrities. He loved to talk about sitting next to country singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and meeting the stars of the 2004 Alamo movie that premiered in San Antonio. He often reflected on how courteous and friendly James Earl Jones was in person in contrast to the villains he played as Darth Vader in Star Wars and Thulsa Doom, the evil leader of the Cult of Set in the Conan the Barbarian movies. Many San Antonians remember him for accepting an apology from Ozzy Osborne for his infamous crime of defiling the cenotaph, but Ozzy was more of a footnote to him than some of the other relationships including the strong friendship he built with Fess Parker who is best known for his role as Davy Crockett. He retired in 2009 two years before the Texas Land Commission took control of the Alamo from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

When David was not working, he could often be seen at a Spurs game or doing some of the volunteer work he loved. Throughout his military career and after retirement from military service, David had been extremely active in community and church activities giving many volunteer hours to organizations such as the Randolph Metrocom Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, the Armed Services YMCA and Wounded Warriors. He attended and assisted with ACTS retreat, taught CCD, and was President of the Catholic Parish Council at Leighton Barrack. In recognition of his community service, he received the VII US Corps Helping Hands Award, and the Dickshire Coors Reach for Excellence Award. In Germany, for his work in his church, he received The Cardinal Cooke Award.

In the military, in addition to the Bronze Star, David was awarded five Meritorious Service Medals, three Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal (with Valor Device plus two additional awards), Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Humanitarian Service Medal (California Floods), Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with five stars, and the US Army Staff Identification Badge.

As a civilian, he was honored with Who's Who in the Southwest, Who's Who of Outstanding Americans, Who's Who of Business Leaders, Who's Who Worldwide, American Legion Citizenship Award, Daughters of Confederacy Cross of Military Service, and the American Volkssport Association President's Award.
David served as board member or officer in the following organizations: Texas Independence Trail Region; Our Lady of Perpetual Help School; Providence College Preparatory School for Girls; Brighton School; Presidio La Bahia; American Society of Association Executives; Public Relations Society of America; Society of Professional Journalists; and Rotary Club of San Antonio.

A visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 18 at Porter Loring North, with a rosary at 6:30 p.m. A funeral Mass is scheduled at 11 a.m. Aug. 19 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Selma, followed by a private burial at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

Family and friends who wish they could be present, can view the recording of the service via this link: https://admin.mediafusionapp.com/_live/embedPlayer.php?contentId=86375

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice or any of the following:

Daughters of the Republic History Center
510 E. Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78752
https://www.drtinfo.org/help-the-daughters-build-the-republic-of-texas-history-center

Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Road Suite 300
Jacksonville, FL 32256
https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/Default.aspx?tsid=10043

Providence College Preparatory School for Girls
1215 N St Marys St
San Antonio, TX 78215
https://www.providencecatholicschool.net/

Shriners Hospital for Children
2900 Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607
https://donate.lovetotherescue.org/give/119312/#!/donation/checkout?utm_source=shcmain&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=donatebutton&utm_campaign=shc&c_src=shc&c_src2=main

St. Jude Children's Hospital
501b St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
https://www.stjude.org/donate

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help School
16075 N Evans Rd
Selma, TX 78154
https://www.olph.org/text-to-give

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2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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