James Edward Stewart
James Edward Stewart passed away peacefully on Oct. 12, 2019, with his two daughters by his side. Jim has been a scholar, educator, author, businessman, and father in Edmond since 1968.
Jim came into this world humbly in Qulin, Mo. on April Fools' Day 1928, as the only son of a cotton sharecropper's family. His senior year and high school graduation were at Mt. Vernon, MO. Immediately following graduation he joined the U.S. Navy and was deployed to China near the end of WWII. Jim attended Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU) in Springfield where he excelled in speech and drama before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. As a sergeant in the Marine Corps, he was stationed in Honolulu where he also became a jazz DJ at the local radio station. He returned to Springfield and attended Drury College where he received his B.A. Jim became a well-known and much-loved radio announcer in Springfield affectionately known as the "Voice of the Ozarks."
Jim Stewart and Erma Jones met through the theater. Jim had the lead in "All My Sons" which Erma attended her senior year in high school. They began dating during Erma's senior year at SMS after performing on the same theater program. They were married soon after her graduation in 1956, and parented three extraordinary children, Jami, Corinne and Michael together for 20 years before divorcing in 1977. In 1987, Jim married Luemma Cloud and they divorced in 2014.
Jim received his M.A. from Kansas State University of Pittsburgh, Kan. He completed doctoral studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Mr. Stewart was an outstanding teacher at Classen High School in OKC, Joplin High School in Joplin, Mo, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., and Central State University in Edmond, Okla.
In 1982, Jim acquired the English Language Center and moved it from OKC to Edmond. It has been family-run ever since. Sharing his passion for English with the students and working closely with the teachers was his calling and passion and it continues with his daughter and Director Jami Watts. ELC has been home to many international students from all over the world to learn to speak and write the English language, and become part of Jim's ELC family as they move on to attend American universities.
Jim was regarded as a specialist in Early American humor - both at the lectern and otherwise. He also enjoyed writing poetry and screenplays. A collection of his poetry is titled, "The Civil Savage." He also loved jazz and swing music and would go to Big Band dances into his late 80s thanks to local artist and close friend Gary Good.
Jim was preceded in death by his father William Clarence Stewart, and his mother Lucy Beatrice Harris Stewart.
Surviving Jim are children Jami Lynn Watts and husband Charles of Edmond, Corinne Elise Barnes and husband David of Edmond, and Michael Earl Stewart and wife Sara of Redondo Beach, Calif.; grandchildren Christopher Watts, Kristin Barnes, Katelyn Ahlgren, and Austin Stewart; and great-grandchildren Ashtyn and Emma Watts, Lilian, Keith, and Jade Ahlgren.
The family invites you to celebrate the life of James Edward Stewart on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2 p.m. at Matthews Funeral Home located at 601 S. Kelly Ave, Edmond, OK.
Published on October 21, 2019


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Showing 10 of 3 posts

Jan Palmer
Nov 02, 2019
Corinne I just saw obit and am so sorry and we send our love. You and your dad was special and am glad to have been friends with you both. Sending love and hugs.
Beverly Thomas
Oct 23, 2019
I had the privilege of meeting Jim at Copper Lakes and dining with him and his table mates many times while visiting my Father. He always had an interesting story and life experience to share as well as a joke or two. My condolences to his family
Beverly Thorsen
Oct 22, 2019
Loved his mischievous grin and sense of humor.