Cover photo for David Jon Stewart's Obituary
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1939 David 2024

David Jon Stewart

August 25, 1939 — January 30, 2024

Hastings, NE

David Jon Stewart, 84, of the Kensington Senior Living Community of Hastings, Nebraska, died January 30th, 2024 at the Kensington. Memorials are suggested to the Hastings College Art Department.

There will be no service as Dave’s wishes were to be cremated. 

Dave was born August 25, 1939, in Lincoln, and was adopted by Ralph and Alberta Stewart of Hastings. He grew up in Hastings and attended Alcott Elementary, Hastings Junior High, and Hastings High School, graduating in 1957. He entered the Air Force in 1959 and served at bases on Okinawa and in Arizona. He was honorably discharged in 1963. Dave married Judine (Judy) Webster on November 23, 1963, at First Christian Church in Hastings. The couple lived in Hastings, and Dave took over the family business, Stewart Plumbing, which he and Judy operated until 1988.

Dave and Judy were members of the First Presbyterian Church and active in the Jaycees. They were also active in several local folk music groups. Dave was a longtime leader of Boy Scout Troop 200. Dave, who was an Eagle Scout as a teen, was awarded the Silver Beaver Award as a Scout Leader in 1975, the highest award a Scout council can bestow on volunteers.

After selling his business, Dave started a new chapter as a custodian at Hastings College. When assigned to the art department, he took the opportunity to explore his life-long love of art. By 1995, he was heralded by Norman Geske, then the director of the Sheldon Museum of Art, and Kyle McMillan, the art critic for the Omaha World-Herald, as being among the most important living artists in Nebraska. Stewart has exhibited solo at many colleges, universities, galleries, and museums. Among the most important shows were the ones at the Haydon Art Gallery, Des Moines Art Center, the Museum of Nebraska Art, and the Assemblage in Lincoln. The Museum of Nebraska Art and Hastings College both have extensive holdings of Stewart’s work in their permanent collections, as do several private collectors. Stewart was the recipient of the Governor’s Art Award in 2019 and was inducted into the Hastings College Fine Arts Hall of Fame in 2023.  Dave and Judy opened the Phelps Fine Arts Gallery in downtown Hastings and operated it for two decades.

Survivors include daughter Ann Mays (and husband Greg), son Joseph Stewart (and wife Margret Marsh) all of Hastings; granddaughters Zoe Mays, Emma Mays, and Hayden Mays, and grandson Ryder Mays.

Preceded in death by his wife Judy, mother Alberta, father Ralph, and two infant brothers.

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