Douglas Stewart, 87

Manufacturing foreman

September 24, 2007

Douglas William Stewart, an Army sergeant in World War II who later worked as a Pullman car attendant for the Pennsylvania Railroad and as a manufacturing foreman, died of renal failure Sept. 17. The longtime West Baltimore resident was 87.

Mr. Stewart, who was known affectionately throughout his Sandtown neighborhood as "Uncle Doug," was born and raised in Phenix City, Ala.

The youngest of 13 children, he quit high school in the 10th grade to help provide for his family, working first as an ice deliveryman and later as a porter at a Georgia hotel.

"Even though he only had a 10th-grade education, he was extraordinarily well read," said Mr. Stewart's daughter, Wynonia Brown, who lived with him in Sandtown. "He read the newspaper every day from cover to cover and was well versed on world affairs as well as anything happening in the city and the state. He always wanted to be on top of things."

By 1944, he was drafted into the Army and stationed in France and the Philippines during World War II. Discharged in 1946, he moved with his family to Baltimore, spending 21 years working for the Pennsylvania Railroad and another 22 years as a foreman at manufacturing company Environmental Elements Corp. He retired in 1988 to care for his wife, Estelle, who had diabetes, which eventually forced the amputation of her legs. She died in 1992; the couple had been married 52 years.

"Every morning, he bathed her, he dressed her, he cooked for her, and he fed her," Ms. Brown said.

Mr. Stewart was a member of Brown's Memorial Baptist Church and later a deacon at Friendship Baptist Church, 6000 Loch Raven Blvd.

He became a fixture in his West Baltimore neighborhood, volunteering with the Avalon Pleasure Club, a group of men who conducted clothing drives for poor families and raised money to buy toys for children at Christmas.

"He was everybody's Uncle Doug," Ms. Brown said. "It didn't matter if it was a blood tie or not. He was always willing to share himself with everybody."

She said he was a gentle father who consistently attended parent-teacher conferences and other school events.

"We used to have teas at elementary school, and there would be all these mothers there and my daddy," Ms. Brown said. "He was so proud that he was the only man there. My teacher would point out that Mr. Stewart was there in support of his daughter and his chest would pop out a bit more."

Once Ms. Brown enrolled at Coppin State University, her father made a point of driving her to class daily and inquiring about her studies.

"He was there so often that people teased him that when I graduated, he deserved a degree," she said.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Friendship Baptist Church.

He also is survived by a grandson and two great-grandchildren.

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