Send a Sympathy Card
Plant Memorial Trees
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)
James Franklin Stewart passed away on May 19, 2017 from complications of leukemia. It was the fourth cancer with which he had been diagnosed in the last eight years, having survived the first three with great spirit and optimism. An attorney by profession, Frank was held in high esteem by his clients for his candid honesty and directness. Originally with the Los Angeles law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher after college, he left after a few years to have his own practice. He kept a small client list to whom he dedicated himself with rare sincerity and personal attention. Reports of deals made on behalf of his clients often came with reports that it was because of how Frank handled himself that the negotiation was successful.
Born on December 25, 1951, in Americus, Georgia to James Edwin Stewart and Carolyn Franklin Stewart of Ellaville, Georgia. Growing up in Warner Robins, Georgia, Frank attended Northside High School where his passionate interest in theater was cultivated under director and lifelong friend Ray Horne. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Political Science his thirst for education took him to Harvard University and the London School of Economics. At Northwestern University he graduated in Theater and then attained his law degree at the University of Virginia.
Having been recruited by the Gibson, Dunn law firm, Frank arrived in Los Angeles in 1980 where he also continued to act. Roles in local productions followed while studying acting with one of the famous Group Theater’s members, Robert Lewis. For three years, Frank recurred on the television series “Divorce Court” as a lawyer while also vetting all the series scripts for legal accuracy. By the end of the 80’s Frank decided he preferred legal work to performance. For over thirty years he exercised his love of theater with the International Thespian Society, teaching acting at state conferences and adjudicating high school productions for inclusion at the international festival at the end of each school year.
Over the last decades Frank applied himself to wide ranging interests and travels, including a trip to Tanzania where he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, building a house in the Tehachapi mountains of Southern California, and helping friends with adoptions, including several trips to China for that purpose. Devoted to his family and friends, he earned unquestioning trust; the ever reliable go-to for aid, support and rescue whenever needed. His wit, wisdom, and generosity were seemingly without limit.
Diagnosed in 2010 with prostate cancer and lymphoma, he never lost his forward-looking attitude. He was further undaunted by the diagnosis of a glioblastoma brain tumor four years later. With three brain surgeries and the innovative therapies provided by his oncologist, Dr. Santosh Kesari, Frank accepted the circumstances with his customary good humor and faith in God. With a remarkable, positive outlook, he was tapped to be a counselor to other cancer patients, and worked to support Dr. Kesari’s continued research.
Frank was a lifelong member of Northview Methodist Church in Warner Robins, where he served as organist as a teenager; also a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California. His faith led him to recently complete a four-year course in Theology, a final educational accomplishment.
He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Jeanette Stewart, of Hickory, North Carolina, and their sons, Brian and wife Lee, and children Bradley and Sullivan Stewart, of Lexington, South Carolina, and Michael, and his wife and son, Susan and Clayton Stewart, of Lincolnton, North Carolina.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM Saturday, June 3, 2017 at Northview United Methodist Church, 90 Tabor Drive, Warner Robins, GA. Interment will be at a later date in the Ellaville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made payable to the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation, and mailed to: SJHCF, att. Mary Byrnes, 2121 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA, 90404. *Please indicate the donation is in honor of J. Frank Stewart for Dr. Santosh Kesari’s Translational Neuro Oncology Research. Donations can also be made online at: http://california.providence.org/saint-johns/giving/donate-now-form/
Arrangements are handled by Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary, Los Angeles, CA and Watson-Giddens Funeral Home & Crematory, Ellaville, GA.