Our dear sweet mother passed peacefully to her eternal rest on Sunday, January 8th, 2023 on the Feast of the Epiphany. Esther Frances “Tite” Leyendecker Stewart was 93 years young and left a legacy of love.
She was predeceased by her husband, William Joel “Bill” Stewart; her parents, Edward Russell and Esther Penn Leyendecker; her four brothers, Edward Russell, Jr., Justo Penn, Arthur Julian, and Philip Andrew; and her sister, Nancy Barbara. She attended Saint Peter’s Memorial Catholic School and later graduated from Ursuline Academy in Laredo.
While obtaining her associate of arts degree, she was a cheerleader and part of the first graduating class of Laredo Junior College. She went on to receive her teaching degree from East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas now known as Texas A&M University-Commerce. There, she was named “Most Popular” on the campus in 1953. Esther never met a stranger. Her winning smile and quick wit blessed her with many friends throughout the years.
Upon graduation from college, she taught at Lamar Middle School. She then met and married William Joel “Bill” Stewart, the love of her life, in 1954. His military career as a US Air Force pilot took them around the world and she not only helped to raise, but also moved her family eighteen times during their sixty-three years of marriage. In the early 1980s, when her children were grown and in college, she returned to Laredo Junior College to start the LJC Tutoring Center, which assisted many students in obtaining their degrees.
A woman of many talents, our mother will be remembered for many things: her amazing knack for fishing (always catching the largest catch of the day) her delicious cooking and baking skills, as well as gardening, needlepoint, and sewing. Her hard work and determination to achieve excellence was evident in everything she did.
As a devout Catholic, she made her ACTS retreat at the age of eighty and became a “fisher of men and women” for Christ. Her strong faith, worldly charm, tenacity, resplendent grace, and unconditional devotion to her family will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved her.
She was most proud of her children, Nancy Barbara Stewart Blair and husband, Randall Scott; Dr. William Joel Stewart, Jr. and wife, Sylvia Cantu; Theresa Ann Powell and husband, William Michael; and Cynthia Louise Leyendecker, and husband, Leonard, Jr.
She was also blessed with ten grandsons whom she adored, Roger Andrew Blair, and wife, Amy Knowles; William Joel “BJ“ Stewart, III and wife, Morgan Westerman; Alexander Penn Stewart, and wife, Nicole Werstak; William Michael Powell, Jr. and wife, Laura Ardis Scarborough; Zachry Stewart Powell, and wife, Sandra Calderon; Kyle Alexander Powell, and wife, Kaylie Morgensen; Daniel Tobias “Toby” Rodriguez, and (Jacqueline Page Stephens); Benjamin Earle Rodriguez; Austin Gabriel Rodriguez; and Dominic Evan Rodriguez.
Esther was abundantly blessed with nine precious great-grandchildren, Alaina Kay, William Joel “Liam” IV, Zachary Ryan, Noah James, Hazel Jane, John Parker, Avery Jayne, Lily James, and Brody Aaron.
The family would like to sincerely thank the physicians, respiratory therapists, and nursing staff of TexSan Methodist Heart Hospital ICU in San Antonio, Texas for their outstanding care and compassion in addition to Raquel Valadez who has been a steadfast, loving, and compassionate help to Esther for decades.
The family will be receiving condolences on Friday evening, January 13th, 2023 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapels & Cremation Services, 1410 Jacaman Rd.; where a Vigil for the Deceased and Rosary will commence at 7 p.m.
Funeral Services will be conducted on Saturday morning, January 14th, 2023. Funeral Procession will be departing at 12 noon from Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapels to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 2219 Galveston St.; where Requiem Mass will be held at 12:30 p.m.
Father Wojciech Przystasz will be officiating the Mass and the Graveside Services which will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 3600 McPherson Road.
To safeguard the family and guests, those wishing to attend Esther’s services are asked to please practice social distancing as well as use masks while inside the premises of the funeral establishment and church.
Her ten grandsons will serve as the pallbearers.
Honorary pallbearers will be: Jason Patrick Leyendecker, Edward Russell Leyendecker, III, Willis Daniel Leyendecker, Fred W. Winch, Jr., Edward “Tad” Brittingham, David Trevino, Felipe Coronado, Patrick Maxwell, James Penn Leyendecker, Justo Penn Leyendecker, Nic Leyendecker, Lukas Leyendecker, Jacobo Leyendecker, and Roger Emory Diamond.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that you consider making a donation in Esther’s memory to her favorite charities:
Bethany House Of Laredo, Inc.
Online at www.bethanyhouseoflaredo.org
Or by mail to: 817 Hidalgo Street
Laredo, Texas 78040
or Taylor’s Place
Online at https://www.taylorsplace.org/donate
Or by mail to: 4150 Pendleton Dr #622
Bryan, Texas 77802
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care and direction of the funeral service professionals at Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapels & Cremation Services, 1410 Jacaman Rd., Laredo, Texas 78041; (956)722-8850.