Funeral services will be at 10 AM, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at the First Baptist Church of Claude with Andy Dietz officiating. Masonic rites are by Claude Lodge 719. Burial will follow at the Claude Cemetery. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Sam was born on September 28, 1934 in Claude to Charles and Estelle Stewart. Sam enlisted in the United States Navy at age 17 and served his country as a radarman in the South Pacific and Asia during the Korean War. Sam was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Japanese Occupation Medal, the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. In addition, Sam was awarded the Korean War Service Medal by the Republic of Korea.
Following an Honorable Discharge from the Navy, Sam attended Eastern New Mexico University on the GI Bill and received a degree in Accounting, summa cum laude, in 1959. While in college, Sam met Joanne Atkinson and they were married on July 25, 1959. Sam was an insurance agent and a partner in Stewart Insurance in Claude until his retirement in 1995.
Sam was an active civic leader who remained devoted to community service throughout his lifetime. He served as an officer, director or volunteer with many organizations including: the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum; the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission; the First National Bank of Claude, which is now Citizens Bank, serving as Chairman of the Board from 1981 to 1998; the Claude Fire Department, serving as Fire Chief from 1971 to 1985; the City of Claude Volunteer Ambulance Service; the Claude Cemetery Association; the American Legion, Harold Gist Post #344; and the Claude Lion’s Club. Sam was instrumental in providing health care services to residents of rural communities as one of the organizers of the Armstrong County Medical Center, which is now known as the Claude Family Medical Clinic, and Sam volunteered with that organization from 1965 until his death. Sam was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Claude and served the Church in various capacities including as a Deacon and as Treasurer. Sam was a member of Claude Lodge 719, AF&AM Masonic Lodge, for over 50 years, was a Past Master and was honored to receive the Golden Trowel Award twice.
Sam was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Charles Wallace Stewart. Sam is survived by his wife of over 55 years, Joanne Stewart of Claude; a daughter, Amy Stewart Sanders and her husband Gary of Amarillo; a son, William Joseph Stewart and his wife Amy of Lubbock; four grandchildren, Kimberly Stewart, Brogan Stewart, Caitlyn Sprous and Collin Sprous; a brother, Norman Stewart and his wife Susan; a sister, Nancy Stoddard and her husband Don; three nieces, Vivian Shirley, Kathy Arthurs and Jennifer Garner, and a nephew; Eric Stewart.
The family offers special gratitude and appreciation to the following persons for the care they provided to Sam: Janet Bilyeu, RN, FNP and the staff at the Claude Family Medical Clinic; Joel Osborn, M.D.; Rush Snyder, M.D.; Mike Campbell; the nurses and staff of Accolade Home Care and Hospice; and the physicians and staff at the Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Claude Volunteer Ambulance Service, P.O. Box 231, Claude, Texas 79019, or to the Claude Fire Department, 115 Trice Street, Claude, Texas 79019.
Viewing will be from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday, Oct. 23, at Boxwell Brothers in Amarillo. Viewing will also be from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. with the family receiving friends from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, at the Boxwell Brothers Claude Chapel, 200 Parks.