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Scholarship to be named for Stewart

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett branch of the NAACP is setting up a scholarship in remembrance of the man who helped reopen the branch three years ago.

The Rev. John Stewart Jr. died Saturday at the age of 49 after having an asthma attack at his Stone Mountain home, said Audrey Scott, the acting president of the Gwinnett branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Stewart had suffered from asthma for years, and Scott said he had been hospitalized a few times this year. Stewart was pronounced dead at 6 a.m. Saturday at Emory Eastside in Snellville, Scott said.

Stewart's funeral is at 11 a.m. Friday at Central Baptist Church, 4550 Lawrenceville Highway, Lilburn. Visitation is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home, 914 Scenic Highway, Lawrenceville.

Stewart will be buried in Gwinnett Memorial Park, 925 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville.

"This man was just about to be a phenomenal leader," Scott said. "He was so godly and so positive."

The Gwinnett NAACP branch is collecting donations for the scholarship, which will be named after Stewart, Scott said. Donations can be mailed to the branch at 4002 Highway 78, Suite 530-196, Snellville, Ga. 30039.

Stewart's wife of 24 years, JeJuan, said John reactivated the Gwinnett NAACP branch after he retired as a regional director after working for Hyatt Hotels for more than 20 years.

The state NAACP office asked John Stewart to reactivate the branch because they had been getting calls about issues in Gwinnett County, she said.

"God called, and he answered," JeJuan Stewart said.

JeJuan Stewart said her husband was about "fairness, about everyone having a place at the table to be represented."

John Stewart believed in the future and believed in leaving a legacy, his wife said.

He is survived by his four children: Jeniece Garcia, 20; John C. Stewart III, 19; Jessica Stewart, 16; and Joshua Stewart, 14. All four children went to school in the Shiloh cluster in Gwinnett County, JeJuan Stewart said.

Garcia and her husband, Carlos, have a son and are expecting another child, JeJuan Stewart said.

A trust fund has been set up for the children through Wachovia Bank, 4820 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain. The bank is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.