2010-09-16 / Obituaries

James M. Stewart

McConnellsburg, 79

James McDonald Stewart, 79, McConnellsburg, died Thursday, September 9, 2010, at Chambersburg Hospital.

He was born February 3, 1931, in Port Angeles, Wash., the son of the late Charles Reid Stewart and Mary Elizabeth McDonald Stewart. He had been married to Bernice Claire Dorren Stewart since June 20, 1953.

He is survived by his wife, Bernice Claire Stewart, who still resides in McConnellsburg; two sons: Glenn Mc- Donald Stewart and McDonald Reid Stewart; one daughter, Janet Elizabeth Stewart Black; nine grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents: Charles and Mary Stewart.

“Jim” was a professor of physical chemistry at the University of Maryland , College Park, from 1961 until 1994. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Washington College of Education in 1953, where he met his bride. He went on directly to earn his Doctor of Philosophy in 1958. He was an internationally renowned scientist in the field of X-ray crystallography, and helped pioneer the use of computer technology to dimensionally study inorganic molecular structures. He was recognized by the American Crystallographic Association with the 2001 Fankuchen Award for outstanding contributions to teaching in his field. A devoted, energetic and patient educator to the end, he continued to teach postsecondary science courses well into his retirement years, locally at Juniata College and online from his home office for the University of Maryland even after he had taken too ill to commute regularly to a live lecture hall.

He was a familiar neighbor and recognized community benefactor in the town of McConnellsburg, to where he and Bernice relocated in 1994. He served in modest leadership at the United Presbyterian Church, where he regularly engaged with the men’s fellowship and led scholarly adult Bible studies for many years. At the Fulton County Food Bank, Jim also contributed much time, resources and computing expertise toward organizing the administrative and financial management office functions. He was an avid environmentalist who proudly exercised his Scottish heritage and knack for thermodynamics, engineering and physics by engaging in and demonstrating practical energy conservation: He designed and built (and lived in) a succession of solar-pow- ered and energy-efficient homes, three of which are in McConnellsburg.

He was proud and uninhibited about his affinity for “geeky” gadgetry, indulging himself in later years with the newest breakthroughs in computers, communication devices, hybrid automotive technology and other exciting trappings of the 21st century. True to his affinity for learning, his home entertainment library consisted almost entirely of academic and educational programming.

Despite his wealth of knowledge and scholarly station, he always fit in with any polite company, and was consistently known for his unassuming, balanced wisdom and humble eagerness to help others. He will be missed by many.

An excerpt from Jim’s abundant archives of favorite classical scholarship includes this passage from S. T. Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

“He prayeth best, who loveth best; All things great and small; For the dear God who loveth us; He made and loveth all.”

A memorial service was held at the McConnellsburg United Presbyterian Church, Sunday, September 12, 2010. Kelso-Cornelius Funeral Homes, 322 North Second Street, McConnellsburg, PA handled the arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.kelso-corneliusfuneralhome. com

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