By Jack King
Mayor David Lansford and the Clovis City Commission will declare Friday “Doc Stewart Day” at the City Commission meeting at 5:15 p.m. today in the North Annex of Carver-Curry Public Library.
Gov. Bill Richardson plans to attend the commission meeting to recognize Stewart’s many efforts on behalf of the community, his office said Wednesday.
Lansford said he urged the commission to issue the proclamation because “it’s long overdue.”
“Recognizing Doc is one of the things I wanted to accomplish before I left office. My term’s up in March and, since I haven’t decided whether to file for re-election, now is a good time to do it,” he said.
Stewart also will be recognized at a reception hosted by the Committee of Fifty from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at The Landing at Cannon Air Force Base. The public is invited to attend. The United States Air Force Honor Guard will present the colors. The event also will be attended by Air Force commanders, along with 27th Fighter Wing commander Col. Robert Yates.
“Doc’s generosity, patriotism and volunteerism are greatly appreciated by all,” said Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce. “In 2000, the chamber recognized him as the ‘Citizen of the Century.’”
Ernest O. “Doc” Stewart and his wife, Martha, moved to Clovis in 1955, when he was invited to become sales manager at Max Meadors’ Chevrolet dealership.
“We fell in love with Clovis and felt it was a place we could raise our sons, where they would be properly nurtured,” he said.
He joined the Committee of 50, the military affairs committee of the chamber of commerce, in 1956, he said.
The committee was founded in 1948 by Meadors, Charlie Fisher, Joe Sisler, J. Harvey Wilson and 46 other Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce members. Its purpose was to educate Department of Defense personnel about the advantages of reopening Clovis Army Air Base after it was closed in 1948. It succeeded and the base was reopened in 1951, then renamed Cannon Air Force Base in 1957.
In 1965, Stewart was elected chairman of the Washington Committee, a group of four men — Stewart, Randy Harris, Chad Lydick and Ted Hartley — who traveled to Washington regularly to lobby for Cannon Air Force Base projects. Since at least 1968, he has been involved in every major decision affecting the base, the city proclamation says.
Stewart bought the Meador dealership in 1965, operating it as Doc Stewart Chevrolet-Buick until 1996, when he sold it to Darryl, Bryce and Gary Bender. He also has operated Doc Stewart Investments and Real Estate since 1965.
Stewart’s son John is a West Point graduate and retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army. His son Kit retired as a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force. His son Bobby Jack works in sales at Bender Chevrolet and his son Mark is a vice president at Dynacorp, a government contractor in Fort Worth.