Gordon Stewart with AFRH Staff
Gordon Stewart

Gordon Stewart

By Lori Kerns, AFRH-G Librarian

Gordon Stewart was born in the rural area of Blytheville, AR.  He and his half-sister grew up on a farm that his parents owned.  Once Gordon completed the eighth grade, he decided to help his parents by working full time on their farm.  In 1940, the 17 year old decided to join the Army as an escape to his impoverished lifestyle.

Back then, there was no boot camp for new Army recruits.  He was sent straight from Arkansas to Hawaii where he worked in communications.  This was quite a change for a small town boy who had never seen the ocean before.  On December 7, 1941, Gordon happened to be standing on the banks of his fort when he witnessed Pearl Harbor being attacked. 

After about three years of service, Gordon got out of the Army but re-enlisted in the Air Force.  Again he was placed in communications.  His first post was in Greenville, SC.  While stationed here he met Betty.  The couple married and travelled together to his next assignments, which included going overseas to Japan and Germany.  While in Germany, the couple adopted a German boy.  About six months later, Betty gave birth to their daughter. 

Gordon’s last duty station was in Texas.  He retired in 1964 as a first sergeant.  The family moved to Memphis where they had previously purchased a farm.  Gordon talked Betty into moving to the farm to build a nice house.  They purchased a convenience store and ran it for a couple of years.  They sold the convenience store to buy a grocery store.  The family owned and ran this store for a few years and decided to sell so that Gordon could retire altogether.  Because he loved fishing, the couple moved to Charleston, SC so that he could take up salt water fishing.  After a while, they decided to move back to Tennessee where Gordon delved into freshwater fishing.  Once they settled back in Tennessee, the couple found out that they were expecting their second son.

As their youngest son grew older, Betty developed Alzheimer’s disease.  Gordon became her full time caretaker until they felt it best that she go live at a facility equipped to handle her dementia.  She managed with Alzheimer’s for about seven years but sadly passed away.

Gordon had been living alone in a three bedroom house.  The house and yard became too much for him to take care of on his own.  He always knew that money had been drafted from his military paychecks for the Old Soldiers Home (now one of the AFRH campuses).  He and his daughter decided to take a look at AFRH-G.  The home was way above his expectations.  After two years on the wait list, he was welcomed into the home.  Gordon enjoys spending his time with his friends that live at AFRH-G.  He also likes to read and watch TV.