The Republic from Columbus, Indiana on June 22, 2015 · Page 4
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The Republic from Columbus, Indiana · Page 4

Columbus, Indiana
Issue Date:
Monday, June 22, 2015
Page 4
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Local A4 The Republic, Columbus, Ind, Monday, June 22, 2015 k mi 5 Clockwise from above: Former Columbus Mayor Robert Stewart poses for a photo in his home May 1 2, 2005. Stewart helps local children's advocates promote a program encouraging parents to have their children fingerprinted for identification purposes. Stewart waits to speak at a ceremony renaming the Second Street Bridge the Robert N. Stewart Bridge on Sept. 4, 201 3, in Columbus. A campaign photo is shown from Stewart's first run for mayor in 1 983. The Republic file photos HrHr M Hb l -'hH STEWART Continued from Page A1 Indiana Republican Party state chairman from 1963 to 1965. Stewart was honored four times by Indiana governors with the state's most prestigious honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash, presented in 1969, 1982, 1983 and 1995. 'He was a giant' "It's a huge loss to the community," Mayor Brown said of Stewart's death. "He made tremendous accomplishments when he was in office," including downtown revitalization and making Columbus a more welcoming community, she said. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family, Rachel and his brother (Dr. Thomas D. Stewart)," Brown said. Barbara Westermeier Stewart, the former mayor's wife of nearly 48 years, died June 17, 2003. Robert Stewart's personality and leadership style was highly effective in pulling together publicprivate partnerships, Stark said. "He was a giant," Stark said, speaking of Stewart's accomplishments as mayor. The city's Focus 2000 initiative, under Stewart's leadership, led to projects such as the renovation of Mill Race Park, the Front Door Project, the downtown Streetscape project and Project Self -Sufficiency, which helped Columbus residents transition from Columbus Drier. Cleaner. Healthier. (them&y) We provide deep clean that is also green! Our cleaner is 1 00 certified green and contains no detergents or harsh chemicals. Your carpets will dry in 1 - 2 hours. Carpet & Upholstery Tile & Grout (Clean and Sealing) Area Rug Specialists Pick up available 24 Hour Water Damage Restoration 812-376-0671 $256ff $50OFF: ANY JOB ANY JOB ! (themBfy) ' i SPRING Expires 6301 5 Not valid with any other offers. Expires 63015 Not valid with any other offers. Celebrating 31 years of service! public assistance to independence, Stark said. Stewart also was highly successful in economic development, attracting many new companies to Columbus particularly international ones such as Enkei, NTN Driveshaft, Toyota Industrial Manufacturing Equipment and CLAAS, "almost everything down at Woodside," Stark said, referring to the industrial park on the city's west side. As mayor, Stewart developed close relationships with the leaders of companies being recruited to Columbus, said Randy Tucker, the retired community and public relations director for Cummins and a friend of Stewart's for more than 65 years. Before Enkei could make its decision on where to expand, the company's chairman died and Stewart was invited to the funeral in Michigan, Tucker recalled. Mayor Stewart was seated in the front row, said Tucker, who met Stewart while they attended Franklin College. "I believe that clinched the deal for Enkei to locate in Columbus," Tucker said. BIOGRAPHY. Continued from Page A1 the National Council for Urban Economic Development; Trustee of Franklin College, 1974 to 1983 MILITARY SERVICE: United States Navy Reserve HONORS: Sagamore of the Wabash, 1969, 1982, 1983, Stewart worked closely on business recruitment with Brooke Tuttle, president of the Columbus Economic Development Board, and leading business executives such as Henry Schacht and Jim Baker, respectively the chairmen of the then-named Cummins Engine Co. and Arvin Industries. While on business-recruitment trips, "Bob could talk about the history of any country he was great at that, and just charmed everybody," Stark said. Stewart brought together business, political and community leaders and created what many have called "the Columbus way of community development," Tucker said. "He was bigger than life. He enjoyed life, and he enjoyed being mayor," said Tucker, who helped with Stewart's first campaign for mayor. "He was just an extraordinarily human, understanding, smart leader," Tucker said. In terms of Stewart's style as mayor, "he appointed good people and let them do their job," he said. "He made everything so much fun," Stark said. "We always knew when he was in City Hall because his big, booming laugh would just echo around the building." Bridge builder About 200 people, including Gov. Pence, turned out to recognize the former mayor during a Sept. 4, 2013, ceremony in which the city's Second Street Bridge, as it was known since its 1999 opening, was renamed the Robert N. Stewart Bridge. The bridge's name change was done in an executive order by Pence, who grew up in Columbus and often said how much he admired the Republican Columbus mayor. During the 2013 bridge-renaming ceremony honoring Stewart, Pence recalled his youth in Columbus. "As a kid who grew up in Everroad Park, I can't tell you how honored I was to sign that order," Pence said. "Bob Stewart became mayor not to hold office, but to make a difference." Pence and city council member Ryan Brand, another speaker at the 2013 event, both described Stewart as a bridge builder in a number of respects. Brand said the former mayor had symbolically established bridges which joined a variety of public and private sector groups in getting things done. But he also built bridges literally. The Second Street Bridge, planned began during the Stewart administration, was christened four years after Stewart left office. It has been called the key component of the Front Door Project, marking the renovated primary entrance to Columbus. "He was a great ambassador for the City of Columbus," said Pete King, a Columbus attorney, who considered Stewart a friend and mentor. "He understood the sum of the parts was always greater when partnerships and teamwork were employed to address community opportunities and issues. Through these collaborative efforts, he helped promote the publicprivate sector model that brought over 6,000 jobs and a billion dollars of new investment to our community during the 12 years he served as our mayor." 1995; William R. Laws Human Rights Award, 1994; Russell G. Lloyd Distinguished Service Award given to a public official by the Indiana Association of Cities & Towns, 1 995; co-recipient of Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce's Community Service Award, 1995; Richard L. Johnson Leadership Award, 2013 FAMILY: Parents, the late Lynn and Irene Bowman Stewart; brother, Dr. Thomas D. Stewart- wife, Barbara Westermeier Stewart (married July 3, 1955; died June 17, 2003); daughter, Rachel Compiled by Kirk Johannesen, Republic assistant managing editor OVER 450 VEHICLES TO CHOOSE FROM Text poyntergm to 36000 to receive Exclusive Specials and Deals! 81 2-672-4947 812-372-5270 1209 E. Tipton Street, Seymour, IN 47274 FIND R0AOS CADJLUC CHEVROLET - BUICK - GWC Have a story idea? Give us a call in The Republic newsroom: 812-379-5633

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