Robert Harold Stewart was born to the union of Howard and Mary Stewart on January 30, 1943 at home in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the second oldest son born to the marriage. He is preceded in death by his loving parents; sister, Margaret; brother, Howard and brother, Franklin. Robert attended Evanston Elementary School where he and his sister, Mary, where two of the first African American students. Robert graduated from Withrow High School in 1962. While there he discovered his love for music. Two of his favorite activities were singing in the school choir and participating in the Withrow High School Minstrels. After graduation, Robert enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1962 and was honorably discharged on September 10, 1966.
Before departing for duty in the US Air Force, Robert married the love of his life, Elaine Burnette Martin, on October 30, 1965. They were blessed with 54 years of marriage. To this union God blessed them with two devoted sons, Robert Todd, Phillip Anthony and a loving daughter, Traci Burnette.
Upon discharge from the United States Air Force, Robert returned to Cincinnati, and worked several jobs including as a life insurance salesman for a period of time. He later joined the Cincinnati Transit (now known as Metro) as a transit operator. He was one of the first African Americans to hold the position. He served the company for 39 dedicated years retiring in 2005. He was long time member of the Amalgamated Transit Union #627. Many of his friends and co-workers affectionately call him Stew.
A fond memory of how well loved he was by his riders comes to mind. Robert and his siblings traveled to Georgia, many years ago, to a family reunion. At a rest stop a voice could be heard shouting “that’s my bus driver.” It was one of his riders. He greeted her and they both laughed about meeting someone he drove every day so far from home.
After retirement, Robert worked for a short time with Crosswell VIP Motorcoach Company, and the University of Cincinnati Transportation Department. He also worked at Avon Field Golf Course which made him very happy since he loved to play golf. He traveled on golf trips with friends and family but Avon Field was his home course. His favorite golf partner, his brother Raymond, was often by his side.
He later decided to fully retire and take up his love of golf as a full time hobby. Robert won numerous trophies and awards for his golf skills. Robert’s hobby soon became a greater passion which led him to use work space in his basement to repurpose and fit donated clubs for youth who participated in the Cincinnati Recreation Commission Youth Golf Program. Robert also loved photography and took many photos for family and friends.
Robert loved the Lord and accepted Him as his personal Savior through Baptism at an early age. He was an active member of Zion Baptist Church for many years. He could be seen and heard most Sundays and, on special occasions, singing as a member of the Male Chorus, the Mass Choir, or as a Tenor soloist. He loved to sing!
Robert served as a co-chair of a Zion Baptist Church Men’s Day Program and was honored as Father of the Year by the Laymen’s League. He served as a member of the church outreach Van Ministry. Robert also participated in the CSO Cincinnati Classical Roots music program for several years. He loved to sing Praises to the Lord. Unfortunately, in recent months, his illness kept him from singing, so he used the time while resting, listening to gospel songs and other religious music while reading. He loved reading the word and had several study Bibles.
Robert was a family man and showed it with all his heart. He served as a loving caregiver to his beloved mother, Mary, for many years. He loved to tell family and friends funny stories and his humor could make you laugh out loud. He loved the Cincinnati Bengals for a short time (only when winning); loved the University of Georgia Bulldogs Football program; he loved watching Tiger Woods play or golf in general and loved watching tennis especially if Serena or Venus Williams were playing.
In addition to his devoted, loving wife, Elaine, and their children, Robert, leaves a strong legacy including his beloved grandchildren: Nicholas, DeShawnda, Christina, Alexandria, Ashley; two loving great granddaughters: Alaya and Amira, and a dedicated niece, Pamela, who was his bonus daughter. He is also survived by his beloved siblings: Mary (Frederick); Raymond (Betty); Patricia (Clarence); Robin (Robert);Terrance (Denice); all of Cincinnati and David of Washington, DC. He also is loved and will be missed by his numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family, friends and church members.
Contributions can be made to GRAD Cincinnati for the Howard and Mary C. Stewart Scholarship Fund. Mail to GRAD Cincinnati, 301 Oak St., Cincinnati, OH 45219 or make donations via the GRAD Cincinnati website http://www.gradcincinnati.org/donate.html