- SYMPATHY NOTE
Paul Leroy Stewart
Paul Leroy Stewart, son of James Jay and Flossie M. Diefenderfer Stewart, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Thursday, December 27, 2018 in Harborcreek, PA.
He was born November 24, 1924, in his grandparents' (Diefenderfer) house in Greenville, PA and later moved to Clark's Mills, PA. Growing up, Paul was involved in the Fredonia Pennsylvania Presbyterian Church. Through the school's 4H club, his strawberries won ribbons at both county and PA state fairs. He graduated from Fredonia-Delaware High School in 1942 and was drafted into the Navy. He attended Diesel School at Richmond, VA, and was assigned to the USS Stanton DE-247, which provided convoy escort for many North Atlantic crossings via St. John's Newfoundland. He and his fellow crew members received three "Bronze Stars" -- two for sinking two subs and one for action in the Mediterranean Sea. Paul's ship served as a sub hunter and escort for the defense of aircraft carriers. He was in Pearl Harbor when they announced the end of the war and celebrated VE day with his mates. He was discharged from Bainbridge Naval Training Academy in Maryland as a Motor Machinist Mate 2nd Class, MM2 in 1946.
Paul began work in the refrigeration department with General Electric Company in Erie in 1947. His expertise in sheet metal placed him in many of the smaller shops within the plant. He retired in 1985 after 38 years of service.
Paul first met Esther Viola Gabor at an ice cream shop in Greenville, PA. They married in 1948 and moved to Erie. After a brief stay at the Tea Pot Dome, they bought a house on Rankine Ave. in Lawrence Park and, in 1953, they bought a 5-acre farm on Garfield Avenue in Harborcreek. Along with their six children, they used their farming skills to plant and maintain a very large garden thereby providing produce for both friends and neighbors. In 1971, they built a new home at the western portion of the property where Paul spent his final years living with his oldest son, Jim and his wife, Mary.
Paul's beloved Esther died in 2006 after 58 years of happily married life. One project he enjoyed with Esther was making large quilts for family members and friends and lap quilts for children and the elderly. They donated many lap robes to the nursing homes in the area. He and Esther loved to travel, crisscrossing the United States with the children – their goal to visit all 50 states plus Canada was achieved.
Paul was a member of the East Erie Moose Lodge in Harborcreek, UE Local 506, and R.A.G.E. (Retiree Association of General Electric). He was a member of The First Presbyterian Church of Harborcreek for nearly 65 years. He was ordained and served as both an Elder and Deacon. In addition, he volunteered for over 25 years for Meals on Wheels and loved his Pittsburgh Steelers.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Esther; his sisters, Anna Kunkle, and Vada Moore; and one son, Thomas M. Stewart. He is survived by five of his six children, James Leroy Stewart (Pastor Mary Carole) Harborcreek, The Rev. Robert Paul Stewart (George Quick) Cathedral City, CA, Mary Ellen Flowers (Ron) Harborcreek, Kathy Stewart Minneapolis, MN, and William Dennis Stewart (Tamba) Harborcreek; his brother, William (Lancaster, PA); brother-in-law, McCrea Kunkle (Waterford); seven grandchildren, William Stewart (Sandy), Jeremy Stewart (Andrea), Christopher Stewart (Lynne), Christine Stewart, Shelley Stewart, Jason Stewart, and Justin Stewart; three great-grandchildren, Melissa Washe (Jeff), Samantha Stewart, and Noah Stewart; two great-great-grandchildren, Mikayla Washe, and Teegan Washe; 10 step grandchildren; and four step great-grandchildren.
Friends may call at the Dusckas Funeral Home, Inc., 2607 Buffalo Rd., on Wednesday, January 2, from 4 to 7 pm and are invited to attend a Memorial Service celebrating Paul's life at the Harborcreek First Presbyterian Church, 6724 Buffalo Rd., Harborcreek, PA 16421, on Saturday, January 5, at 11 am. A private Interment will be held at Memorial Gardens, Erie, PA. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Harborcreek First Presbyterian Church.