Eagle Point resident, Phyllis Stewart, will fly to San Diego this summer for her 95th birthday celebration. Stewart’s daughters arranged the gala to take place in her native city.
Twenty-five years ago at a daughter’s invitation to live near her in Eagle Point, the honoree left California. Stewart sought to rebuild her life in new surroundings away from sad reminders of a beloved deceased husband. Phyllis soon began volunteering as "Grandma Phyllis" at Eagle Point Head Start, and now marks longer tenure there than anyone else.
"Years ago I taught myself Spanish. With my grandchildren, I camped
and picnicked on beaches in Tijuana," she said. "Now I can read and
talk to kids in English or Spanish."
Head Start’s Family
Advocate, Dinah Linville, showed a photo featuring Stewart who’d been
awarded Humanitarian of the Year honors from the agency’s national
headquarters. In the picture, Stewart wields a fire hose, while a
smiling as a young male fire fighter in sunglasses looks on. "The
things you people make me do!" a grinning Stewart told Linville. Then
with a mischievous glint in her eye, "That was fun. The guy with the
dark glasses in this photo is nice looking."
When asked if
she had lots of boyfriends in her teen years, she chuckled, and
replied, "Sort of." She said she met her husband at a dance sponsored
by the Eagles Lodge. "I didn’t like him at first; we got married two
years later." Stewart and spouse had two sons and two daughters. "But
we raised two other boys, whose parents rejected them," she said. "They
were four and five years old when they came to us." The youngsters had
befriended her sons, and had become "family." Both their births had
occurred within shattered relationships-mothers in their early teens;
fathers who deserted. The boys asked to remain with the Stewarts, who
petitioned for state permission to take them into their loving family
circle. With a parental glow of pride, she boasts of her wards’
successful lives today. "One has a ranch in Arizona; another works as a
traveling sales representative for a big company."
raised granddaughter, "Sissy," from age two weeks until Sissy’s
marriage at 21. Now Stewart watches that granddaughter’s child after
When asked what she’d like to do in the future,
without hesitation Stewart replies, "Same thing I’m doing now. I
really love all children. "
By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent.