Elizabeth “Liz” Stewart, 70, kid at heart, fooled all who knew her when she slipped away quietly Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — in stark contrast to the way she lived her life! Liz was a lifelong fighter who believed in family, God, the judicious application of guilt, the power of words, the freedom of education, contribution, friendship, striving, justice, equality and the calling to be useful to others in this life.
Liz was a gifted high school chemistry and physics teacher to thousands of Memphis City School kids for over half of her life and relished bringing science to life for them.
An entrepreneur at heart, too, she founded Precision Air Conditioning & Heating with her now late husband Dennis in 1973. Even after retirement, she continued sharing her wisdom, bringing newspaper clippings and hanging out with her children at work, in this second-generation family business.
Liz felt her children were her greatest accomplishment. She made no apologies for being the kind of woman who didn’t cook, clean or pack lunches. She believed in self-reliance! She would talk forever about her kids’ accomplishments: Lawyer, Master Degreed Teacher, Successful Business Owners, and PhD Psychologist. But her real pride and joy was knowing that her four children shared a lifelong unbreakable bond of closeness. She attributed that to her “hands off approach” of never imagining what they should be, but instead encouraging whatever it was they showed an interest in; never once playing them against each other; tenaciously holding onto her faith; putting them to work early and often; teaching them values that would last a lifetime; and demonstrating through her own struggles with disability and health challenges the value of never, ever, ever giving up.
Liz was a 40-year resident of Bartlett, very active in Bartlett politics, St. Ann’s Catholic Church and various organizations for equality and justice throughout her life.
Liz loved life and miraculously bounced back from the brink of death dozens of times over the past many years. That she passed away in her sleep enjoying her best health in recent memory was a fitting punch line.
The family thanks Dr. Bobby Kelley, Dr. Jennifer Morrow, Dr. Melvin Goldin and Dr. Mike Smith, who never gave up on her. Additionally, thank you to DaVita Memphis East Dialysis at Baptist and Margaret Locke, who was a great comfort to Liz and her family.
Liz leaves behind a loving family, which was her greatest joy. Her children, Kathe Stewart (Steve Wilson); Larry Stewart (Michele DeHaven); Beth Barker (David Barker); [all of Memphis] and Michael Stewart (Laurel Young) of Nashville, Tenn. Grandchildren: Lance Stewart; Hogin and Emily Barker; Allison, Ashley, Emily and Jordan DeHaven. Her sister Kathy (Rich Cirincione) of Madeira Beach, Fla.; brother Dr. Thomas Bornemann (Cynthia) of Atlanta, Ga., their children, her nieces Jennifer, Lara and Sara; brother-in-law, Dougley Stewart (Sharon) of Malibu, Calif., and their son, her nephew, Dougley “Chip” Stewart. She also leaves behind a large extended family and her two cats, Bob and Spooky. Her husband of 36 years, Dennis Lawrence Stewart Sr., preceded her in death, as did her brother, Michael Bornemann.
Liz was buried on July 12, 2014, in Memorial Park Cemetery after a funeral mass at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bartlett. Liz requested no flowers “since they die” and would prefer you make a donation to St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bartlett, where she was a member for almost 40 years.
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