On April 1, 2022, after 98 years of a blessed and fruitful life, surrounded by loved ones, Reverend Phillip Harland Stewart went home to be with the Lord. He is now reunited with family members and friends who arrived before him, including Ima Jean (2014), his beautiful bride of 71 years; and much-loved sons David (2014) and Kevin (2021). Known by many as “Pastor” or "Grandpa Stewart”, his pastoral and evangelistic ministry spanned over 50 years.
Philip was the second son born to Charles Samuel Stewart and Shirley Aderholt Stewart, on February 21, 1924, in Wilson, Oklahoma. The 11-member family lived a harsh life of poverty, during the Depression and Dust Bowl, in Carter County, Oklahoma. After the death of his father, who was a deacon at their church in Ghost Holler, in 1935, the Stewarts followed relatives to California in search of a better life. After attending Ceres Schools, Phillip met his bride-to-be, Ima Jean Lloyd, and they married on December 26, 1942. During WWII, Phillip served in the Army Air-Corps from April 1943 to October 1945. He was stationed near Bari, Italy loading bombs. He was honorably discharged, after yellow jaundice and an appendectomy in Brazil.
Phillip and Ima Jean were blessed with 6 children; Phillip (wife Linda) born in 1943, Lonnie (wife Janice) born in 1946, David (wife Vickie) born in 1948, Larry (wife Diana) born in 1951, Kevin (wife Judy) born in 1952 and Lisa (husband Bob) born in 1961. Phillip came to Christ in 1947, and soon he and Ima Jean were called into the ministry, serving first as a youth pastor at Glad Tidings in Ceres, where his brother Everett pastored, and then as senior pastor at Keyes Assembly of God. In between years of doing evangelistic ministry, Phillip also pastored churches in Santa Clara, Chowchilla, Brea, Ceres and San Leandro.
Phillip’s passion for Jesus took him around the world, where he preached in Togo, Philippines, South Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guyana, Romania, Brazil, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, Belgium and Israel. He also served on the board of Open-Door Orphanage in Mexico for over 20 years. He and Ima Jean loved their personal travels visiting many places in the U.S. as well as to England, Scotland, Greece and Canada.
Phillip loved full time ministry but often needed to supplement the family’s income by working as a Master Plasterer, a trade taught to him by his uncles. Philip plastered and helped build over 100 churches and Bible schools and was able to teach his sons the trade.
Phillip spent his final years ministering to those he met in his retirement homes, online and occasionally preaching in his former home churches. Although near the end of his life he suffered from near blindness and hearing loss, Phillip’s mind was sharp and his memory keen. He prayed daily for dozens of his family members, calling each by name. He loved his family, listening to preaching and scripture reading, talking about the Lord, telling stories and eating! As his 4 remaining children, six daughter-in-laws, 21 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and 9 great, great grandchildren say goodbye, they are comforted by the welcome he is receiving in heaven by those he was longing to see again.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Samaritan's Purse - Children’s Fund, in memory of Phillip H. Stewart
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