The Living Church

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The Living ChurchSeptember 5, 1999Bishop Stewart of Western Massachusetts Dies at Age 73 219(10) p. 6

The Rt. Rev. Alexander Doig Stewart, 73, retired Bishop of Western Massachusetts, died Aug. 12 in a Springfield, Mass., hospital of pancreatic cancer.

Bishop Stewart, the son of Alexander and Catherine Stewart, who had emigrated from Aberdeen, Scotland, was born in Boston in 1926 and grew up in Cambridge, Mass. A 1943 graduate of Cambridge Latin School, he worked for two-and-a-half years in the MIT Acoustics Lab for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory before entering Harvard College, where he received an honors degree in 1948. He studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York for two years, completing his theological work the following year at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge. He served as a student minister at St. John's Church, Holbrook, Mass., and was ordained deacon in February, 1951. He was ordained priest later the same year while serving as assistant at Christ Church, Greenwich, Conn. The following year he pioneered an urban ministry at St. Margaret's Church in the Bronx, N.Y.

In 1953, he became rector of St. Mark's, Riverside, R.I., where he remained for 17 years. During a sabbatical leave he earned an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. In 1970, he was consecrated as the fifth Bishop of Western Massachusetts. Fourteen years later he responded to the request of the Presiding Bishop to become his executive for administration. In 1987, he became executive vice-president for the Church Pension Group.

Following his retirement in 1992, he served for two years as assisting bishop for New York in the Hudson Valley area, then for five years as assistant bishop in Connecticut.

Bishop Stewart served on the boards of several colleges and preparatory schools, the Episcopal Radio-TV Foundation, and various ecumenical agencies in Massachusetts. He was a member of the Living Church Foundation since 1986. He was a founder of Health Havens, Inc., Nursing Home Corporation in Rhode Island, and had served as a member of the Program and Budget Committee of the Episcopal Church. He was well known as a speaker at diocesan conventions, preparatory schools and colleges.

An active alumnus of Harvard, he was chaplain for commencement in 1998. He was a member of the Harvard Schools and Scholarship Committee.

"Bishop Stewart was an extraordinary man who had a gift for touching the lives of people in significant ways," said the Rt. Rev. Gordon P. Scruton, eighth Bishop of Western Massachusetts. "He was much loved in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and as a leader in the Episcopal Church across the United States. His boundless energy was always focused on living and communicating the gospel of Christ in creative and effective ways."

Bishop Stewart is survived by his wife, the former Laurel Anne Gale. His funeral was held at Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield, Mass.