January 19, 1947 ~ November 25, 2022
Claude Richard Stewart, a resident of Beacon, New York, for sixty five years, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 25, 2022, at Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, in Newburgh, New York. Claude was born on January 19, 1947 in Kelton, South Carolina, to the late Willie C. Stewart, Sr. and Irene Spears-Stewart. He was the youngest of seven children. He was referred to, affectionately, as “Bay Man” by his older siblings. At a young age, he joined the Springfield Baptist Church in Beacon, and was baptized by the late Rev. Mattie Cooper.
Claude was a graduate of Beacon High School where he excelled academically. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Empire State College-a division of the State University of New York (SUNY). Claude was awarded the George Washington Carver Scholarship Award, to assist him in the advancement of his higher education.
As a younger adult Claude and the late Gloria Brown-Stewart consummated their relationship in matrimony. They soon were blessed with their newborn Paris. In his proudest moment as a father, feeling magnificently blessed, Claude observed how “gorgeous” Paris was to him. When he first laid eyes on Jade, Paris’ daughter, his granddaughter, Claude with much glee and glow would never stop singing the song, “You Are So Beautiful.”
Claude enjoyed a special relationship with the family. Whenever members of the family were in need of him – siblings, nieces, and nephews – without hesitation he would rise to the occasion to help his beloved ones – ultimately exhibited by the dedication and care he gave his late mother and other family members.
He was an avid and passionate reader. He could often be seen sitting quietly in Barnes and Nobles and the local library – engrossed in reading articles and books on health, human and civil rights – and social equality/ inequality.
Claude also had an insatiable passion for music. His favorite instrument was that of the guitar. He owned his own guitar. His favorite vocalist was the late Jackie Wilson. It was not unusual for Claude to walk in his parents’ home at any given time – especially the holiday seasons singing out aloud one of his favorite songs by Jackie Wilson.
Driven by his deep sense of compassion for his fellow man, there was no person, irrespective of race, class, gender, religion, and ethnicity, Claude would not stop for and lend a helping hand.
He spent many memorable moments with his loyal and devoted fiancé June Davis. The two were inextricably bound together in their mutual endeavor to take care of their family members (particularly their grandchildren) on both sides of their linage lines. When possible, they took a bit of time to occasionally go out for dinner and to a movie. They could regularly be seen walking together – engaged in their exercise regimen – and making their way to the annual Strawberry Festivals on the Beacon waterfront. June observed, “He took care of me…He did everything for me.”
One of his most cherished moments was the year in which his baseball team, Main Coach & Cycles of the Beacon Baby Ruth League (ages 13-15) won the Championship. It was special to him because he and his older brother Curt shared and celebrated the occasion together as teammates. Claude was a worthy competitor as a basketball and football player. He was also a proud member of the Fleet Cadets of Beacon.
Claude was a former employee of the State of New York Division of Corrections in the Wappinger Falls and Beacon, New York School Districts. He was also a former employee at the Human Rights Legal Aide Services in Poughkeepsie, New York. He was also a licensed New York State Realtor. While a short stint with the Wappingers Falls School District, Claude and his brother Chuck Stewart, Sr. successfully convinced the District to acknowledge Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a legal holiday.
Claude was predeceased by his late parents, Willie C. Stewart, Sr. and Irene Spears-Stewart; three (3) brothers, James Stewart of Pacolet, S.C., Willie C. Stewart, Jr. of Union, S.C. and Charles (Chuck) Stewart, Sr. of Newburgh, New York.
Claude leaves to cherish his memories, June Davis of Beacon, New York; his one Daughter, Paris Stewart-Battle and son-in-law, John Battle of Piscataway, New Jersey; one granddaughter, Jade Battle of Piscataway, New Jersey; one grandson, Jason Battle and his fiancé Tyhesha Smith; four great-grandsons, Kareem Cherry, Therelle Smith, Jayson Battle, and Jace Battle of New York; two sisters, Minister Andrena Cofer of Edison, New Jersey, Wilma Stewart-Hoggard and brother-in-law, Clarence Hoggard of Fords, New Jersey, and one brother, Curtis Stewart of New Rochelle, New York – and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 AM on Thursday, December 8th at Rhodes Funeral Home, 18 Lake Street, Newburgh, NY with funeral services at 11:00AM. Professional services entrusted to Rhodes Funeral Homes.