Thomas L. Stewart |

Thomas L. Stewart

Nancy Oliver Hayden, Tribune Community Editor

Thomas L. Stewart, a 62-year South Shore resident who was an active community leader and served four terms as an El Dorado County Supervisor, died Nov. 5 of congestive heart failure and pneumonia at St. Mary’s Hospital in Reno.

Stewart had lived at Manor Care Nursing in Reno since 1990, following a severe stroke.

Graveside funeral services and interment will be Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at Happy Homestead Cemetery, with the Rev. John Grace officiating. A reception will follow services at St. Theresa Catholic Church Parish Hall.

Stewart was born Feb. 2, 1928, at Hollywood, Calif., and came to Lake Tahoe with his parents and brother in 1937. They lived in the Bijou Pines area and he attended the one-room school house at the “Y,” which had 22 students and was closed from Dec. 15 through March 15 because of weather. When Tom graduated from the eighth grade there were three students in the class. Since there was no high school at Lake Tahoe, he was sent to Los Angeles to live with his aunt and uncle to complete his education, coming home on summer vacations. At that time Tahoe was a small community, with no hospitals, banks, barbers or doctors and U.S. Highway 50 was two lanes with trees in the center of the road.

During his four years of service in the U.S. Navy, Stewart met Brenda Lamont in Sydney, Australia, where they were married Jan. 31, 1948. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary January 1998. Following his discharge from the Navy the young couple established their home at Lake Tahoe, where he started working in the construction industry.

Stewart lost both his hands in a 1952 accident involving explosives while working on the pier at Zephyr Cove.

Throughout his life he taught hundreds of accident and war victims to deal with their handicaps and demonstrated the use of prostheses in the United States and Australia.

Stewart was a real estate broker from 1955 to 1971, and operated a real estate office in the Stewart Building, which he built in 1966 at the corner of U.S. Highway 50 and Tahoe Keys Boulevard. He retired from real estate in 1971, when he was elected to the first of four terms on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. Prior to that he served four years on the South Tahoe Public Utility District board. During his 16 years on the county board he also served on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the Highway 50 Corridor Study Committee and the Tahoe Basin Transportation Authority. He was active with the Lake Tahoe Historical Society and worked to procure funding to build the current Lake Tahoe branch of El Dorado County Library. He was a commander of American Legion Post 795 in the 1950s and had been a member of the Lake Tahoe Elks Lodge and the Optimist Club of Lake Tahoe.

Following his retirement as supervisor in 1987, Stewart earned his glider pilot’s license and had time to enjoy his avid interests of gardening, fishing and reading.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Brenda Stewart of South Lake Tahoe; sons, Randy Stewart of the Dalles, Ore., and Jeff Stewart of Sebastopol, Calif.; daughter, Colleen Stewart of Sun Valley, Calif.; brother, Le Roy Stewart of Harbor, Ore.; and grandchildren, Kelley Stewart of Portland, Ore., Erin Stewart Crockett, stationed in the Army at Virginia and Jonathan and Katherine Stewart, both of Sebastopol.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Stewart’s memory be made to a charity of choice.

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