Wanda Stewart

There will be a graveside ceremony for Wanda Stewart at 10 a.m. Tuesday, January 26, at the Philadelphia Methodist Cemetery. A non-contact visitation will be held at graveside just prior to the service beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Wanda Frances Keith Stewart was born on March 17, 1934 in Magnolia, Arkansas. On January 20, 2021, her husband, John Ed “Red” Stewart was waiting at Heaven’s gate to welcome her home.

Proverbs 31 asks, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Wanda Stewart was the epitome of the virtuous woman.

Wanda grew up in Macedonia, graduating from Magnolia High School in 1952. Throughout her life, classmates commented that they remembered her as the most beautiful girl in school. She was crowned in numerous beauty contests including the titles of Miss Columbia County and Centennial Queen. She was a truly beautiful woman, both inside and out. Red Stewart fell in love with her in high school, and on December 12, 1954, the couple eloped to Greenville, Mississippi. They lived in California and Washington during the years Red spent in the Navy during the Korean War. The couple returned to Magnolia where they raised their children, a son and three daughters. They were proud of their family and never missed an opportunity to tell them so.

Wanda was an accomplished homemaker, keeping a spotless house despite four children, their friends, and assorted pets. She was an excellent cook, feeding her growing family nutritious meals. Wanda excelled at making divinity (even on rainy days) and clear ice-green cucumber pickles. She made it all look so easy, taking daily misadventures in stride. Once her children were all in school, Wanda began working in the Magnolia Public School Systems at West Side Kindergarten and Magnolia Junior High School, then returned to SAU where she later retired as the assistant to the Dean of Education.

A talented artist, Wanda honed her love of art as an adult, winning numerous first-place ribbons at the Magnolia Sidewalk Art Show. Wanda and Red spent many hours singing together at area nursing homes, entertaining the residents with hymns and familiar songs. She was an active member of Jackson Street Methodist Church, which became Asbury Methodist Church. Her never-ending patience and sweet disposition were loved by all who knew her.

In their later years, Red and Wanda celebrated their wedding anniversaries by spending the weekend at the Grand Arlington Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs. They came home full of love and laughter, with a twinkle in their eyes. They loved the Christmas season, all the fancy decorations at the hotel, and the enormous food buffet. They danced the night away at the Christmas ball, while the Big Band music took them back in time. They were beautiful dancers together, and it was obvious to all who saw them that they were still so very much in love. Wanda celebrated 62 years of marriage with Red -- full of love and laughter -- here on earth. Their lifelong love story will continue for eternity, as they sing together in Heaven.

When Wanda was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it devastated her. But true to form, she spent hours working on brain teasers, exercises to stay sharp and focused, crossword puzzles and more, doing everything she could to stave off the inevitable for as long as possible.

Wanda is survived by her children, John Ed Stewart Jr. (Melinda), Robinette Hennessy, Rene Folse (Lawrence), and Roxane Stewart (Stephen); her grandchildren, Heather Barker (Kevin), Karen Meier (Jeff), Lance Folse (Sarah), Josh McGaugh, Stewart Hennessy, Parker Dunn (Macie), and Jordan Dunn (Jacob); her great-grandchildren, Townes Barker, Reef Barker, Evan Stewart, Joshua McGaugh, Jada McGaugh, Shay Ware, Benjamin Garner, Timmy Preston, Sydney Preston, Luke Folse and Beaux Folse; brother, W. C. "Butch" Keith of Macedonia; special family friend, Jane Carrie Patrick-Powell of Dover, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, William Clifton Keith and Edna McWilliams Keith; husband, John Ed Stewart Sr.; sister, Mary Keith Moore and brother-in-law, Howard Moore; parents-in-law, Clatha Ora McNatt and Robert Lee Stewart; son-in-law, Jeffrey Hennessy; son-in-law, Wyatt McGaugh; and grandson, John Kalon Stewart.

The family extends a special thanks to all the staff at the Greenhouse Cottages at Wentworth, Brown House, and the staff of LifeTouch Hospice Care, led by Jennifer Ray.

There will be a graveside ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday, January 26, at the Philadelphia Methodist Cemetery under the direction of Lewis Funeral Home. Services will be conducted by the Rev. David Moore of Asbury Methodist Church. A non-contact visitation will be held at graveside just prior to the service beginning at 9:30 a.m.

A guest book and video tribute will be available at Lewis Funeral home from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, January 25.

The family asks that memorials be made to Asbury Methodist Church, 1300 East University, Magnolia, AR 71753, or to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).

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