Visitation is Tuesday evening and a memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday for Northwestern State baseball great Jimmy Stewart, inducted last October in the Demons’ N-Club Hall of Fame.
Stewart, 68, passed Saturday in Minden. Visitation is Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home at 211 Murrell St. in Minden, with the memorial service at 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church at 1107 Broadway St. in Minden.
The Doyline native played basketball and baseball at Northwestern, excelling as a right-handed pitcher from 1968-71. After a successful tryout, Stewart reached Class AAA in the California Angels organization before a shoulder injury, sustained while refereeing a high school basketball game, ended his professional baseball career.
He was All-Gulf States Conference for the Demons and coach Herbie Smith as a senior, when Stewart was 7-4 with a 1.69 ERA, striking out 78 in 71 innings.
In his last three seasons, he started 23 games, finishing 22, and often would start the first game of a doubleheader, and come out of the bullpen in the second game. He also played basketball in his first two seasons at Northwestern.
“There wasn’t a better pitcher in the state of Louisiana,” said Smith last September at a reception held to honor Stewart in Minden. “His control was perfect, he threw it about 90 mph. Everything about him was really good. He was great to coach, a hard worker, a fantastic player.”
Stewart became a highly-successful high school coach in Webster Parish. He was a math teacher and a basketball, baseball and softball coach. He coached the Crimson Tide to a state finals appearance in basketball, and was pitching coach for three state championship baseball teams at Minden.
At Doyline, he coached the softball team to four state playoff appearances and retired as an acclaimed principal in 2004 after 19 years, and a total of more than 32 years in education.
He was instrumental in mobilizing the Demon basketball alumni annual fall weekend gathering that annually nets significant support for the program. Along with his late brother Bill, he created the Stewart Boys Scholarship endowment supporting Demon basketball.
Stewart is survived by his wife Renee and their adult children, Jamie Stewart Gressett and son Ryan Stewart.