James Franklin Stewart, age 86, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 9, 2021, at Mary Black Hospital, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was born June 5, 1934 in Kelton, South Carolina to the late Willie C. Stewart, Sr. and Irene Spears Stewart.
James was the first of grandchildren born in the Stewart and Spears’ lineages. Affectionately known as “Boe” among his siblings, cousins, and was known as “Jimmy” among his friends. James was regarded as the special grandson, nephew, and cousin on both sides of the lineage divide.
At an early age, having been taught the virtues of his Savior, Jesus Christ, James would be baptized-joining the Emanuel Chapel Baptist Church, in Kelton, South Carolina. Taught the principles of family, love, and loyalty, James consistently lived according to these principles in relationship to family and friends.
After completing elementary school in Union County, South Carolina, with his parents’ resolve to see him receive an advanced quality education, James moved to Salisbury, North Carolina to live with his paternal late aunt, Lillie Stewart Gaston and her family where he attended and graduated from Dunbar High School.
Upon completion of high school, James joined the United States Army. His tour of duty took him to Kansas and on to Germany – where he served most of his time on the frontline – dividing East and West Germany in post-World War II. James learned to speak German.
Following an honorable discharge from the Army, James ventured to Beacon, New York, where he joined his late aunt, Eldora Stewart Thomas; his parents and siblings later joined him there. While in Beacon, he would begin his employment and entrepreneurship endeavors.
James worked several years at Ford Motor Company and later would transition-following in the entrepreneurial footsteps of his paternal grandfather-whom he adored and emulated.
After leaving Ford Motor Company, James soon launched his first janitorial business; a night club, rental property and convenience store would come next. Later, he decided to return to South Carolina-settling in Pacolet – where he opened another janitorial business. James also assisted his wife, Helen-opening and operating a restaurant and food service business for many years.
James (Boe) is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Helen Williams Stewart, one son, Eddie Galloway of Beacon, New York; two brothers, Willie C. Stewart, Jr. of Union, South Carolina and Charles Albert Stewart of Newburgh, New York.
He leaves to cherish his memories, son, Darrell Davis of Peekskill, New York; daughter, Vanessa Stewart of Greensboro, North Carolina; two stepdaughters, Angel Adams (Nathan) of Indian Trail, North Carolina and Cynthia Hamilton (Deon) of Charlotte, North Carolina; two sisters, Minister Andrena Stewart Cofer of Edison, New Jersey and Wilma Stewart Hoggard (Clarence) of Fords, New Jersey; two brothers, Curt Stewart of New Rochelle, New York, and Claude Stewart of Beacon, New York; one aunt, Mattie Stewart of Portland, Maine; fourteen grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews.
While James was a friend to many, he had a few close friends with whom he enjoyed long-time life relationships. They were Mary Gist of Pacolet, South Carolina, Albert “Dip” Littlejohn of Jonesville, South Carolina, Bobby Mitchell of Pacolet, South Carolina, and his long-time personal banker, Kelly Banks of Spartanburg, South Carolina. Vivian Smith Teamer, Dorothy Smith Pruitt, and Brenda Stewart Foster were dedicated cousins during his illness.
A Celebration of the Life of James Franklin Stewart was held on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Bethany A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery, Jonesville, SC.