Ronald Coleman “Bud” Stewart, 82, of Hickory Valley passed away peacefully at home on July 19th ,following a prolonged illness. He was born August 27, 1940, in the Sandy Springs community near Middleton. The son of the late Joel and Tressie Harris Stewart, he was preceded in death by in-laws James Wilburn and Ona Mae Hammons; sister Carolyn Ash, sister-in-law Wanda Rodgers, brothers-in-law R.E. “Bud” Ash, Larry Gene Hammons and Thomas Eslinger, cousin Huey Mott and special friends Ernie Boren and Rich Emerson. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Betty Hammons Stewart, sister Brenda Eslinger of Waco, Texas; and 3 sons and daughters-in-law Keith (Leigh Anne) of Brentwood, Todd (Leigh Ann) of McMinnville, and Jason (Christine) of Davis, CA. He also leaves behind 5 grandchildren of which he was particularly proud: Thomas, Chelsea, Rachel, Caroline and Gillian Stewart. Ronnie will also be missed by sisters-in-law Mary Lynn Lambert, Linda (Winton) Tinch, Brenda (Larry) Mooney, Shirley (Ted) Clifft, and Donnis (Barry) Lake; brothers-in-law Billy Rodgers, Phillip (Deborah) and Doug (Tammy) Hammons and a host of nieces and nephews.
A strong work ethic was cultivated in his youth by picking cotton, raising animals and mowing grass. A dedicated, lifelong educator he earned his Ed.D from UT, Knoxville, master’s degrees from Memphis State and Ole Miss, a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State, and valedictorian honors from Middleton High School. He served as a teacher, principal and administrator for the Memphis City Schools for 30 years, including assignments at East, Treadwell, Richland Junior, Colonial Junior, Georgian Hills and Overton high schools. He concluded his professional career with a 10-year stint in the classroom at Horn Lake, MS, High. A plain-spoken man of letters, he believed earnestly in the importance of quality public education being available for all. He enjoyed hunting for deer, fishing for catfish and then preparing and sharing the fruits of his labor. He dabbled in agricultural pursuits and traveled following retirement and relocation to Hardeman County. He requested memorials be made to the American Cancer Society and Middleton Church of Christ.
Visitation will be held Thursday July 20th from 6-8 pm and Friday July 21st from 10-11 am with funeral service at 11 at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Middleton. Special thanks to Gentiva Hospice of Bolivar for their service.