Don Stewart, a retired, long-time New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor and administrator, died Aug. 10 in Hattiesburg, Miss. He was 85.
For a quarter of a century, Stewart served in multiple capacities at NOBTS until his retirement in July 2003. Stewart returned to his alma mater in 1978 to serve as the executive vice president under Landrum P. Leavell II. Later he would lead the seminary’s doctor of ministry program and the extension center system. Stewart served as professor of New Testament and Greek throughout his tenure at NOBTS and from 1997 to 2003, he returned to the classroom in a fulltime capacity.
“Teaching is the thing I’ve enjoyed most of all that I've done,” Stewart said during a 2003 interview about his retirement. “God called me to minister to people and to teach people, not to teach subjects. I've always tried to do that and it's been very gratifying.”
The professor known for bringing a pastoral approach to the study of New Testament and Greek was elected as professor emeritus shortly after his retirement. For Stewart, ministry was never confined to the classroom, often giving pastoral encouragement to the staff members and students he met in the halls. He continued to encourage the seminary community long after his retirement during his frequent trips to campus.
Throughout his time at NOBTS and in his retirement years, Stewart served as an interim pastor. At last count, he had served as an interim in well over 30 churches in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
A native of Gulfport, Miss., Stewart earned his undergraduate degree at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss., and two degrees from NOBTS, including the doctor of theology degree in New Testament and Greek.
Stewart served at William Carey, his undergraduate alma mater, for 15 years before his long tenure at NOBTS. At William Carey, Stewart was professor of New Testament and Greek and provided academic leadership as the chairman of the department of religion and philosophy.
Stewart is survived by his wife Mona D. Stewart; his children, Jimmy M. Stewart (Janice) of Gulfport, Miss., Sandra Sparrow (Gary) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Donna Mansfield (Carey) of Covington, La; his grandchildren, Kyle Stewart (Laurie) of Hattiesburg, Kadiana Stewart of San Diego, Calif., Conner Mansfield (Suzy) of Bradenton, Fla., Tori Jantzi (James) of Colorado Springs, Colo., Colin Mansfield of Covington, La., and Nicole Wilson (Russell) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and his great grandchildren, Landon Mansfield of Covington, La., Remington Wilson of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Theodore Mansfield of Bradenton, Fla.
The funeral service for Stewart will be Friday, Aug. 13 at Hardy Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss. Visitation will start at 10 a.m., the service follows at 11:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Don H. and Mona D. Stewart scholarships at William Carey University, 710 Parkway Dr., Hattiesburg, MS 39401 (http://www.wmcarey.edu) or The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 3939 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70126 (https://www.nobts.edu).