July 6, 1954—May 7, 2021
Joe Stewart was born on July 6, 1954 and passed on May 7, 2021 after his brave and courageous battle with dementia.
Joe devoted his life to his family, including Pam, his wife of 44 years; Jennifer (Charlie) Schuck, his daughter; and Jacob (Brandi) Stewart, his son. Joe was the best Papa to Addison, Sawyer, and Maddox Schuck and to Griffin Stewart while also looking forward to the arrival of Poppy Stewart in the fall. Joe dearly loved the “grandbabies.”
Joe was the youngest child of Lloyd and Christine Stewart. He is survived by his siblings Bill (Lori) Stewart of Vancouver, Mimi (Gary) Kinch of Longview, Frances (Gene) Paul of Longview, and John (Marion) Stewart of Everett, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Mary and Joyce.
Joe graduated from Kelso High School in 1972, where he started his cross country and track careers. He was awarded athletic scholarships to Highline Community College and Southern Methodist University. While at SMU, Joe was chosen as the team captain, Most Inspirational, and set records in both the 5k and 10k races. Upon graduation, Joe returned to the Pacific Northwest—Kelso actually, where he spent the rest of his life raising a family, teaching, coaching, and counseling, while simultaneously pursuing his own passion for running and racing.
Joe started his teaching and coaching career in 1977 at Coweeman Junior High School with his life-long coaching partner and one of his best friends, Rick Ames. They coached football and track at Coweeman for 5 years with only one loss. He started coaching at Kelso High School where Joe’s runners contributed to a state track title. Over the years, Joe and Rick set standards in cross country and track while amassing numerous league and district championships in both sports for boys and girls at KHS. Joe was inducted into the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame for both track and cross country.
Joe was most proud of his day-to-day impact with kids in the classroom as a teacher and as a counselor. Joe had the innate ability to connect with students. They loved his classes. He was always a favorite—probably because they knew that he cared about them. This ability served him well in his role as a counselor. Not only did he help students with personal issues, he also made sure that they were plugged into the right classes that not only challenged them but also advanced their interests.
Joe was also a student of history. He loved various time periods, especially eras where our country went through challenges, like the Civil War and WWII. He had a special fondness for Abraham Lincoln, FDR and JFK. Joe and his family spent summers traveling through the country to battlefields and museums.
Joe will be honored by family, friends, and the Kelso community at 1:00 pm on July 6th at the Joe Stewart Track in Kelso, WA.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Joe Stewart Memorial Scholarship through the Kelso Schools Foundation at KPSF, PO Box 344, Kelso, WA 98626. Please make the donations payable to the Kelso Public Schools Foundation.