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Richard “Dick” Leroy Stewart, 77, Bakersfield, Calif., formerly of Ottawa, went to be with our Lord Oct. 5, 2012, after a hard and serious fight with Parkinson’s disease.

Services are planned for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in the chapel at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary, Bakersfield, Calif..

Richard Leroy Stewart was born Jan. 25, 1935, in Ottawa, Kan., where he spent his childhood working on the family farm alongside his mother, father and four siblings.

He had numerous illnesses, starting out in childhood and continuing throughout his lifetime. Even though he had many odds against him with his illnesses, he always won the battles.

In 1953, he married his high school sweetheart, Connie Lou Blakesley, who remained his constant companion and wonderful caregiver throughout his lifetime. Richard and Connie enjoyed 59 years of marriage and three children.

In 1956, while attending Ottawa University and supporting a young wife and two children, he was forced to quit his education because he contracted Scleroderma. Again, against many odds and with the beautiful generosity and donations from many people he once again was able to beat the disease so that it went into remission and stayed that way for the next 55 years.

After working as an accountant for Kansas Telephone Company, he then moved to St. Louis, Mo., and continued as an accountant for Continental Telephone Company. He and his family subsequently moved to Bakersfield, Calif., in 1972 where he continued working with Contel until his retirement in 1992.

His next major endeavor was to go to work for Employers Training Resource where he earned the nick name “The Warren Buffett of E.T.R.” He worked there until 2010.  

Richard’s perseverance, strong will and wisdom, despite many “roadblocks” in his life, are what truly make him a “Hero.”

His family would like to thank Mercy-Memorial Hospice; good friend, beautiful caregiver and angel, Vangie Salazar; dear friends for many years, Jim and Dianna Knapp; and numerous other family members and friends for their help and support.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents, George and Dorothy Stewart; and sister, Patty.

Survivors include his wife, Connie Stewart; son, Doug Stewart and wife, Susan; daughters, Kathy Tumblin and husband, Mark, and Lori Norwood and husband, Jeff; grandchildren Maigan, Jason, Breanna, Jessica, Andrea and Amanda; four great-grandchildren; brothers, George Stewart and wife, Jo, and Jack Stewart and wife, Maye; sister, Mary Lou Jones and husband, Bob; sister-in-law, Dianne Ott and husband, David; and brother-in-law, Gary Blakesley.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Scleroderma Foundation and The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

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