Funeral services for Ida B. Stewart of Morris will be held Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. at Assumption Catholic Church in Morris. Father Tim Baltes will be officiating. Visitation will be held Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris and for one hour prior to services at the church on Thursday. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in Morris.
Ida B. Wilcox, daughter of Milton and Justina (Dixon) Wilcox was born on September 15, 1931 in Fitzgerald, Georgia. She attended Stanton High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Her mother re-married to be Justina Dixon. Ida attended post high school in Danvers, Massachusetts and residing at the home of naval attorney, Mr. Sears and his father Judge Sears. She preceded on to Boston University as an undergraduate in 1955, where upon marriage to William Stewart, she completed 2 undergraduate degrees one at Hamline University in Biology/Chemistry/Math and Premed and one at Macalester College in General Physical Science. She earned 2 graduate degrees one at the University of Minnesota in Psychology/Special Education and St. Thomas University in Improvement of Instruction with final work on a Doctorate of Education in Critical Pedagogy.
Ida taught 5th grade at St. Paul Cathedral Elementary School, 6th-9th grade at St. Paul at Monroe Jr. High School. She further taught at various high schools in the Twin Cities, particularly Minneapolis Henry, North Community High School and at St. Mary's Cathedral High in Minneapolis.
She joined the staff at the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1972 in the Department of Education on a "B" appointment for 2 years as a result of her association with TTT (Teaching Training Teacher) program. It consisted of several Minnesota colleges in particular with Dr. Bert Ahern (UMM History professor) and Dr. Brunning (Department Head of Education at UMM).
Her teaching talents were expanded to the position of Education Coordinator at the Minority Student program for an additional 4 years. Her major achievement included the establishment of the Cultural Heritage Week now in its 38th year as well as the Women of Color Student Organization.
As a mentor, she served both formally and informally. She was academic advisor to numerous students who have gone on to achieve great success. She has served as a mentor for friends and colleagues including the position of assistant director, institute administrator, researcher and instructor for the William B. Stewart Institute; and substitute teacher at the Morris Senior High School.
She also connected the University of Minnesota, Morris to the large university communities by national presentations in particular at the NAIS (National Association of International Studies) in Platteville, Wisconsin; MAEOPP (Midwest Association of Equal Opportunity Personnel Program); People of Color in Predominately White Institutions at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Third Annual Equity & Justice in Education conference at the Richard Stockton College in New jersey; and President Eisenhower People to People Program in Russia and Germany.
Ida's family referred to her as mother, sister and aunt, and as a successful role model. Colleagues referred to her as a friend with a humor, humility and sensitive critical analysis. Despite this humility she was recognized with a number of honors including the Twin Cities Black Women, Twin Cities Mary Kate Riley Award of February 28, 1989 in recognition of obtaining, maintaining and providing for academic excellence.
Armed with her head scarf, African-American attire and a gleam in her eye, she spread strength, compassion, understanding and warmth everywhere. She went always with a good dose of wit, critical analysis and a sense of humor.
Ida passed away January 27, 2011 at the Stevens Community Medical Center in Morris, peacefully surrounded by immediate family. She was 79 years old.
Ida was a wonderful wife to Bill Stewart, Morris, MN; two sons, Malcolm Stewart, Morris, MN and Paul Stewart, Spokane, WA; two daughters, Jacquelynn Sirach, Morris, MN and Cecilia Stewart, Coon Rapids, MN; a sister, Helena Crenshaw, New York, NY; two grandchildren and nine nephews and nieces.
In lieu of flowers memorials are prefered to the the William B. Stewart Foundation.