Charles Wade Stewart, Jr., 89, of Radford, Va., a veteran, retired electrical engineer and former mayor of Pulaski, Va., passed away April 13 after a brief illness.
Born in Pulaski, Stewart graduated from Pulaski High School in 1946 and National Business College in Roanoke, Va., in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict from 1952-1953, stationed in Tokyo at the General Headquarters of the U.S. Far East Command, where he first developed a lifelong love of Japan. Following his military service, he earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1959, and later took graduate courses at the University of Virginia.
Stewart spent most of his electrical engineering career with Sperry Marine in Charlottesville, Va., retiring in 1993 as Engineering Section Head. He was employed by Inland Motors in Radford from 1969-1974. His career accomplishments included developing or improving marine engineering systems including a collision avoidance system for commercial application, gyrocompasses that allowed for precise directional control, periscopes, and inertial navigation systems for submarines which allowed them to navigate without surfacing. A highlight for Stewart was working on an Iowa-class battleship, the most powerful class of battleship ever built, in the late 1960s when he worked on sonar and radar systems as a contractor to the U.S. Navy.
After retiring, Stewart returned to Pulaski and founded the engineering consulting firm Great Southwest Inc. Devoted to his home town, he served on Pulaski’s Town Council from 1996-2000 and as mayor from 2000-2004 when he retired from public service. Focused on bringing economic development to the town, he was most proud of his work with the council to establish the New River Trail on its present course from the Pulaski Depot, along the railroad tracks beside Peak Creek and under the Pulaski-Galax trestle, to its terminus at Xaloy.
Stewart was a member of the First Presbyterian Churches in Charlottesville and later Pulaski, serving as a deacon and member of the latter church’s board.
He relocated to Radford in 2005.
Survivors include son Richard Alan Stewart, MD and his wife Virginia of Charlottesville, and their children Bryan, Andrew, James, Katherine, Christopher and Alexander; son Charles Wade Stewart III, DDS retired, his wife Kathleen, and their children Jacob and Skylar, all of Hampton; daughter Julia Ann Stewart and husband Dennis Courtier of New Orleans, La., and her children Daniel Daly and Caroline Daly of Ashburn, Va.; son William Neal Stewart, wife Nanette and their children Malcolm, Ronan and Anneliese, all of Radford, Va.; nieces, nephews and other beloved relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his cherished wife of 53 years, Naomi Ruth Gates Stewart; his parents, Rev. Charles Wade Stewart, Sr., and Tillie Florence Lyons Stewart; and his sisters Nealda Mozella Stewart Hawkins and Naomi Ruth Stewart Huff.
A brief graveside service with military honors will be held May 18 at 2:00 pm at Oakwood Cemetery in Pulaski; the Honorable John White, Ph.D., of Pulaski will officiate. Family will welcome guests after the service at Jackson Park Inn. In lieu of flowers, they request memorial donations to the Salvation Army.
The Stewart family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford. www.mullinsfuneralhome.com.