Billy (Bill) D.’s Story

Site created on November 18, 2021

Bill was diagnosed with heart failure several years ago and recently underwent quintuple by-pass heart surgery .  In recent days his health has declined. We are extremely grateful for the love that we have received from family, friends, and our community.  We hope to add updates to this page in Bill's final days to keep everyone informed and allow others to share comments, stories, and their favorite memories of Bill.  Thank you for joining us!

Newest Update

Journal entry by Douglas Stewart

We are sad to announce my Dad peacefully passed away this morning at home in his bed. His obituary is on the Moody Funeral Service website and will be published with the Hickory Daily Record on Friday. I have also included it below. At this time we are not planning a funeral or memorial service. If desired, donations in his name may be made to local Red Cross chapters or Mountain Valley Hospice (mtnvalleyhospice.org). Thank you to all those who have reached out and provided words of comfort and encouragement.  - Doug


Obituary:

Billy David Stewart, 77, of Mt. Airy, NC, formerly of Hickory, NC, peacefully closed his eyes one last time at home on November 23rd, 2021, after a long battle with heart failure. 

Bill was born on December 10th, 1943, to Fred and Alma Stewart of Hickory, NC. During high school, Bill began working for his father at Stewart Woodworking, later known as Stewart Construction. After graduating from Hickory High School in 1962, Bill worked full time at the construction company as Vice President for over 30 years. Together, Bill and his father built commercial and residential buildings, roads, bridges, and just about anything else all over Catawba County and the southeast.

Bill was lucky in love with his wife Joy by his side as they enjoyed 35 years full of adventures, laughs, and love together. They were rarely apart during their marriage as Joy was the perfect partner for all his craziness. She laughed at his jokes, listened with him to old classic country music, and enjoyed all his stories and tall tales. She was his angel and Bill loved her above all else. 

Bill was a long time volunteer with the American Red Cross and served for many years on their Disaster Services team. This led to fulfilling roles as the Catawba County Chairman, NC State Chairman, and eventually the national Mid-Atlantic and Southeast region Chairman. He led responses to multiple natural disasters helping manage volunteers, organize food and shelters, and returning people to their homes. In 1990, Bill was awarded the Clara Barton Award, one of the top awards given by the American Red Cross, for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership.

Bill combined his experience in construction with his volunteerism. He worked with the National Association of Home Builders in conjunction with the American Red Cross House Plan Design Project to design homes for the victims of disasters.  During the late 80s, Bill also volunteered with the NC Department of Labor working with their apprenticeship program for laborers. Among his work was designing and judging the masonry contest held each year at the NC State Fair. 

On July 20th, 1995, NC Governor Jim Hunt, awarded Bill one of the state’s top honors, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Later in his career, Bill left the construction company. He worked in real estate in the 80s, and in the 90s enjoyed success with his home inspection business. For a time he sold copiers along with his wife, and as he neared retirement and looked to move to the mountains, Bill started a sign and engraving business. For a brief stint, he even enjoyed the occasional gig as a music DJ for special events. He also continued doing freelance work preparing house drawings for people and often helped friends and neighbors with special projects.

Bill had an active and curious mind and in his free time enjoyed woodworking, often carving little things or building furniture and cabinets. He had a continuing love of music and a wide collection of instruments, including guitars, a ukulele, a banjo, and autoharp among others. He always had a good sense of humor, enjoyed teasing and cutting up, and like any good father, he appreciated puns and the occasional “Dad joke”.

Bill was many things to many people: a little league baseball coach, a brother, a volunteer, a musician, a builder, the crazy uncle, a doting grandpa with cool tools, Mr. Fix-it, a friend, a colleague, the scrambled eggs maker, the one to lend a hand, a collector of knowledge, and the Dad who liked to play Puff the Magic Dragon. Mostly, he was a good man trying to make things better for so many. He will be missed. 

Bill was predeceased by his parents, Fred and Alma Stewart of Hickory. He is survived by his wife, Joy; sister Carol Fulenwider (Bill) of Albuquerque, NM; sister Judy Lail (Stan) of Hickory; brother Kevin Stewart (Katherine) of Catawba; sons Brent Stewart (Karen) of Hickory, and Douglas Stewart of Hickory; four grandchildren, Benjamin Stewart of Hickory, Kaitlyn Stewart of Houston, TX, Madelyn Stewart of New Haven, CT, and William Stewart of Hickory; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and many friends that felt like family.  

A funeral or memorial service is not planned at this time but memorials may be made in his honor to local Red Cross chapters or to Mountain Valley Hospice (mtnvalleyhospice.org). Please visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/billydstewart to see pictures, share stories, or pass along messages to the family.

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