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Longtime Longview educator Stewart, leader during integration, dies at 87

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
March 26, 2013 at 10 p.m.


A longtime educator who helped Longview schools make the transition from segregation to integration was remembered Tuesday as a mentor to young men and women of all races who went on to become community leaders themselves.

Clifford Stewart, 87, died Saturday. He was a teacher, coach and administrator in Longview ISD for almost half a century and retired in 1994. He began his career with the district in 1951, as a coach and teacher at the old Mary C. Womack High School, which served black students before integration.

When the schools were integrated, he began teaching at Longview High School. He wrapped up his career as the assistant principal at Foster Middle School, said Andrea Mayo, deputy LISD superintendent.

"I had the pleasure of being a teacher at Foster Middle School when he was the assistant principal there," Mayo said. "He did a great job of mentoring several of us who are now in leadership positions in the district as we made the transition from college students to educators."

Stewart was a beloved public servant who helped advance teachers and students as they strove to do their best, she said.

"He gave us direction, and we owe him a great debt of gratitude," Mayo said.

Beth Bassett, director of instruction for the district, said she first worked beside Stewart when they taught in rooms next to each other at Longview High School, then worked with him when she was the principal and he was the assistant principal at Foster Middle School in the 1990s.

"He paved the way for any success I had at Foster Middle School," Bassett said. "He was such a well-respected gentleman, so kind and fair to everyone, regardless of their age or race, that he taught me many life lessons."

Clarence Bailey, a longtime friend of Stewart's and former member of the Longview ISD board of trustees, said the two taught together for several years before Bailey chose to leave education for another career.

"I've known him most of my life, and he was just a wonderful man who had a huge influence on several generations of young men in this community," Bailey said.

Stewart was involved with the community in a number of roles, Bailey said, not only as an educator but also as an active member of his church.

Services for Stewart are set at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Visitation is scheduled 1 to 6 p.m. Friday at Stanmore Funeral Home.

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