Kenneth Wilson Stewart, 77, of Denton passed away on Sunday, December 9, 2012. He was born March 5, 1935 to Bill Wilson and Dorothy McAlister Wilson in Walters, OK. He grew up in the home of stepfather Anderson Stewart and Dorothy McAlister Stewart. He married Francene Brewer of Hugoton, KS on May 27, 1956. He lived life to the fullest and was an eternal optimist.
Graduate of Hugoton High School, Hugoton, KS in 1953. Formal education: B.S., Okla. A&MUniv. in Forestry/Botany, 1958; M.S., Okla. State Univ. in Entomology, 1959.; Ph.D., Okla. State Univ. in Entomology/Zoology , 1963, and never stopped learning and sharing that with others.
Kenneth was an avid researcher in the field of aquatic insects, specializing in Plecoptera, fresh water insects that are important to the ecology of water resources and to the food chain of life. Graduate students were attracted to his Aquatic Entomology Program at UNT from major universities in the U.S. and international locations. He supervised and mentored 25 Masters degree students and 21 Doctorial degree students during his 40 year tenure at UNT. Many of them have become life-long friends and extended family members. Research projects have taken him into most of the states of the U.S., several Canadian provinces, and international locations. (Some of these trips were accompanied by his wife, Francene, who is a travel enthusiast). His research led him to publish 200 juried scientific papers including three books. These books are used by U.S. Government employees in scientific studies.
Kenneth was an accomplished scientist and researcher, but he balanced work, family life, community involvement and faith so that each complimented the others. He lived by example and enjoyed his relationships with other people to the fullest. Companionship was enjoyed by so many people with a man who earned respect and lived by his principles of hard work and fellowship with others. His priorities in life were aligned with the Boy Scout Oath, Law and Slogan. He was committed to God and country and often said that the Boy Scout Law was a guide for living. So, his legacy is left with this thought, “Everyone should be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” A day never went by without Kenneth “doing a good turn daily.” His wish for all who knew him would be to live everyday with a positive purpose and give to others.
His hobbies and outside interests included grandkids, farming, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, sports, woodworking projects, detail painting on wood projects and the news reports.
Shortly after moving to Denton, he became Scout Master of BS Troop 140 at First BaptistChurch and continued for 18 years. His Scouting interest continued until his death in 2012 with a total of 54 years. As scout master he mentored 31 Eagle Scouts including son, Daryl Stewart. He was also Scout Master for a TX BS Troop to the World Scout Jamboree in 1967 that was held inIdaho.
So, there are many stories to tell and remember associated with family, colleagues, both national and international, scouts, hunters, and friends of his 77 years.
His Christian life began early and strong, being associated with several Baptist Churches where he was a member including Highland Baptist Church in Denton. He served as a Deacon and was a Church Board Member of Pitkin Community Church in Pitkin, CO. a Christian mission-minded fellowship.
Academic and Research Positions:No. Amer. Benthological Society Taxomony Certification Program; Regents Prof. Emeritus and Adjunct Research Prof.; Regents Prof. Univ. of No. TX; appointed by TX Board of Regents.; Visiting Prof. Univ. of Oklahoma.; Prof-Facu lAffiliat, Univ. Montana.; Director, Division of Environmental Sciences at UNT.; Visiting Prof. of Zoology, Univ. of Montana.; Workshop Director, Mt. Evans Research Station, U of Denver, CO.; Chairman, Biol. Science, UNT.; Professor, Biol. Science, UNT.; Acting Chair, Biol. Sciences, UNT.; Instructor, Biology, Coffeyville College.; U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Research Aid, Stillwater, OK.;Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. Entomology, OK State U.; U.S. Forest Service research scientist, Ft. Collins, CO.; U.S. Forest Service Research Aid, Rapid City, So. Dakota; U.S. Soil Conservation Service, Conservation Aid, Hugoton, KS.;
Professional Organizations:Entomological Society of America for 40 yrs.; American Entomological Society for 30 yrs.; No. American Benthological Society.-Elected President.; Entomological Society of Washington.; Florida Assoc. of Benthologists.; Pacific Coast Entomological Society.; TX Academy of Science.; International Society of Plecopterists.Southwestern Assoc. of Naturalists.; No. Amer. Plecoptera Society. Elected President.
Professional Honors:Lifetime Achievement Award by International Society of Plecopterologists.; Appointed to Scientific Board of “Riverkeeper” organization to safeguard Ecological Integrity of Historic Hudson River, N.Y.; Award of Excellence in Benthic Science by No. Amer. Benthological Society.; President, No. American Plecoptera Society.; Decker Scholar Award – Endowed Research Scholarship, UNT.; Editorial Board, International Journal of Freshwater Entomology.; President, No. Amer. Benthological Society.; President-Elect No. Amer. Benthological Society.; Fellow, TX Academy of Science.; Recipiant of numerous awards of funding for research from National Science Foundation.
Community Honors and Service: Scoutmaster, Troop 140, BSA – 1961-1979.; Scout Committee, Troop 140, 1979-2012.; Scouters Training Award.; Scouters Key.; Silver Beaver Selection Committee, Longhorn Council, BSA.; Silver Beaver (Highest award at BSA Council level).; Deacon , First Baptist Church, Denton, TX. And Highland Baptist Church, Denton, TX.; 50+-yr. Scouter Veteran Award.; Denton Area Eagle Scout Committee.; Scout Master for a TX BS Troop to the World Scout Jamboree in 1967 that was held in Idaho. Church Board of Trustees, Pitkin Community Church, Pitkin, CO.; Board of Trustees – Pitkin, CO Historical and Community Assoc.
Visitation will take place 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Friday at DeBerry Funeral Home, 2025 W. University, Denton. The memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm at Highland Baptist Church, 600 Thomas, Denton, with a reception at the church following for all those attending.
Kenneth is survived by his devoted wife, Francene, daughter Dana Ledford and husband Victor of San Antonio, sons Daryl Stewart and wife Leslie of Denton and Dwight Stewart and wife Teresa of Little Rock, AR, grandchildren Wesley Ledford and wife Allison, Jeffrey Ledford, Spencer Stewart, Audrey Stewart, Lane Stewart, Alyssa Stewart, Bradley Richardson, and Sydney Richardson, sister Judy Clark of Hugoton, KS, nieces and nephews. Those who have preceded him in death are his parents and three brothers.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for memorial donations to be sent to Boy Scout Troop 140,3124 Deerfield Dr. Denton, TX 76208. Pitkin Community Church, PO Box 238, Pitkin, CO 81241. St. Jude Children’s Research Hosp., PO Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101-0050.
The family wants to thank all the prayer warriors and those who have shown their kindness and concern during Kenneth’s illness with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.