Ronnie Stewart (1946 – 2005)
A young man barely out of high school found himself employed by the local funeral home in Henry county. This would be the start of his lifelong career in the service of others. Ronnie Stewart was that man. He found his greatest strength in the compassion that came so easily to him. His experience with the funeral home led to a commitment to help others in their hour of grief. Ronnie would go on to serve his community for the rest of his life.
When asked, Ronnie took on the role of Battalion Chief for the county Fire Department. Ronnie taught EMS classes and served as EMS director when they needed someone to step in to fill a void. It was during one of these classes that an event occured that would change his life forever.
Ronnie left to answer an emergency call and was struck by a passing car. Ronnie was paralyzed from the waist down. This tragic event would have ended the career of a lesser person. Ronnie was back at work as Coroner six months later.
Through it all, his loving wife Jackie stood by his side and marveled at his strength. His community and it’s leaders were equally impressed. Those that knew Ronnie wouldn’t have expected any less of him. Ronnie was a man of amazing strength and determination. He had not yet helped everyone he could. He knew that he had to get out there and continue his work.
He would humbly say that it was the voters of his county that kept him working. He was a gentle giant that people loved. They speak of Ronnie to this day as their big brother, their father figure. The voters knew a genuine caring person when they saw it and continued to reelect Ronnie for 35 years.
Ronnie once said; “I get a great deal of satisfacion when I can make things a little easier for a bereaved family”. His ability to do just that with little effort is what drew people to him.
Serving as the Georgia Coroners Association Secretary and Treasurer for several years was his pleasure. He held a deep fondness for the GCA and believed in it’s mission. He believed in America. He was known to get choked up by the American flag. He was the type of man that wasn’t afraid to show emotion. Whether it was at a game of his beloved Falcons or watching a television show with Jackie. He felt everything deeply.
As Ronnie’s health declined he prepared his final days and planned his funeral as well. His idea was to be driven to his final resting place in the back of the antique fire truck that he had been instrumental in restoring. As his convoy traveled through the town square, they drove it’s streets in reverse. Just as Ronnie would have wanted.
It is a great honor for the Georgia Coroners Association to name this tribute page in dedication of Ronnie Stewart. His contributions to his community and the GCA will be remembered throughout history. We are honored to have known him. He was our friend. He was our brother. He will always be missed. May we all remember his lessons and strive to continue his gentle work.