Every now and then, you just have to feel badly for a family. Take, for instance, the Jack Stewart family from Heavener. Jack was married to Margie and they had four children, Jerry Jack, Regina, Bobby and Willie. They were all hard workers, as far as I remember. Jack owned a drilling mud company in Heavener. I know because Jerry Jack and I used to play inside the building, which sat caddy-cornered from Henry Ryburn’s grocery store and just next to the railroad tracks.
Jack died of a heart attack, I think. Margie was in California one year taking care of her parents and died. Jerry Jack, my age, died from complications of diabetes. He and I used to play football and baseball, and various other games, on West 2nd Street. Jerry was a mountain-sized kid, who could throw a football as far as anyone I had ever seen. I remember, in particular, and this has nothing to do with sports, one time we were in the country south of town and we were scared by something, and just took off running. Several of us guys were out there. Ed Stinson, Jim Patterson and I don’t recall who else. Jerry Jack was so scared, he ran right through a barbed-wire fence. He was so big he ran slap dab through the thing and busted it, barbed-wire and all! Ed laughed so hard, I thought he was never going to stop. I went in the Air Force in the late ’60s and the first time I came home (fromCalifornia), Jerry and I went camping. Can’t remember where, but it’s not important. He was just a friend and was willing to go with me. I always went back to see Jerry whenever I went back home for a high school reunion. Jerry later had a foot amputated. He died a couple years ago.
Regina moved to Mesquite, TX and married a wonderful man, I understand. Willie, the next oldest brother, died just last week. Cancer, I heard. Now, Bob (as he was called once he got older) is the only one in Heavener. No mother, father, or brothers.
I always remember times being tough for the Stewart family. As young boys, they used to walk along the side of the road picking up (coke) cans to sell, and they usually mowed most of the lawns around town. When my dad passed away, I called on the Stewart boys to mow his yard for me. They did, even though Jerry had an amputated leg. They still mowed. When Cynthia’s Aunt Mable was moving from her house on the west side of town, the Stewart boys helped. Like I said, they always worked hard at whatever they did. Their heart was in the right place.