June 15, 2007
Fred M. Stewart Fred M. Stewart passed away peacefully at home June 11, 2007 after a long battle with congestive heart failure.Fred was born July 28, 1917 in Van Nuys, California. He moved with his family to Santa Paula in 1934.He graduated from Santa Paula High School in 1935, where he met his future wife, Theda Call. He went on to study at Ventura College, and graduated from the University of Southern California in 1940 with a degree in business administration.When World War II broke out, he joined the Navy and became the captain of a PT boat. During his training one of his instructors was John F. Kennedy. His service took him to the Philippine Islands, where he was when the war ended.After the war he returned to Santa Paula and started Agri Serv, an agricultural service business, which he ran for 33 years. He also started California Molded Products, a manufacturer of plastic dinnerware. He raised lemons, avocados, tomatoes and other row crops.During his working career, he was very involved with many business and community organizations. He was president of the Santa Paula Rotary Club, Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, the California Tomato Growers Association, the California State Department of Human Resources Development Advisory Board, and the National Agricultural Ammonia Institute. He was a director of the United Water Conservation District, the Ventura County Economic Development Association, the Ventura Community College Board of Directors, and the Ventura County Fair Board of Directors. He was a member of the Ventura County Grand Jury, the Governor’s Manpower Policy Task Force, the Agricultural Advisory Committee, and the Santa Paula Elementary School District.His first wife Theda died in 1989, after which he married Evelyn Samways, who preceded him in death in 2003. His youngest son Doug died in 1963. His oldest grandchild, Ali Vanderploeg died in 2003.
He was a powerful presence wherever he went. His family was always his primary concern, and he was a loving and involved father and grandfather. The only discipline that was ever necessary was simply his expectation of excellence and the force of his personality. He will be sorely missed.He is survived by his daughter, Pat Vanderploeg-Sullivan and her husband Larry, and his son Dr. Chuck Stewart and his wife Brenda. He is also survived by grandchildren Ryan and Lauren Stewart and Kristin Vanderploeg, nephew Bob Culver and his wife Pat, niece Caroline Edge and her husband Mike, stepchildren Sally and Rick Cook, Susan and Ron Cowden, and Nancy and Steve Barrett, as well as numerous great nieces and nephews and step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.The family would like to thank his long time caregiver Mary Leal, his doctors, Mike Tushla MD and Carl Constantine MD, and the staff at Santa Paula Hospital.There will be a graveside service at Santa Paula Cemetery Saturday, June 16 at 1 p.m., followed by a celebration at the Stewart Ranch.Any donations should be made to the Santa Clara Valley Wellness Foundation, P.O. Box 348, Santa Paula, CA 93061.Arrangements are under the direction of Skillin-Carroll Mortuary, 738 E. Santa Paula St., 525-3391.

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