The Nation's "Everyman" Dies
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 12:58:00 -0500
The man many have called "America's 'Everyman'," James Stewart, died
yesterday in Beverly Hills, California of a blood clot in his lung. He was
89 years old.
Stewart, a Silver Buffalo holder, served as a member of the Advisory
Committee to the Los Angeles Area Council and has lent his name to several
fund-rasing events and activities within that Council over the years.
Most memorable for his role in the holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life",
Jimmy Stewart was also known for his roles in 74 other movies, most of
which serve as classic examples and instruments for acting and film classes.
His down-to-earth, straight-forward way of behavior caught the attention of
many in and outside the of the Hollywood movie industry. Actor and fellow
friend Charlton Heston spoke of Stewart as able to "carry that mantle beyond
the screen into his life. There was no pretense in Jimmy Stewart....."
Much of Stewart's behavior, demenor and character came from his upbringing ,
according to movie critic Leonard Mauplin. When commenting on the manner
that Stewart carried his role as a "star", Mauplin replied "He carried it
lightly, he wore it with distinction".
Stewart, raised in Indiana, Pennsylvania was a Boy Scout and appeared
alongside Rich Little, Richard Roundtree, former President Gerald Ford, the
Reverent Rosie Greer, David Hartman and others during a series of national
commercials produced by the Boy Scouts of America. Stewart, appearing in
the Scout uniform of that time along with a blue neckerchief, reminded kids
that "You may never know where Scouting will take you".
The commericals, which ran in 100 newspapers and magazines, on billboards
and over the television and radio for three years, was the most effective
advertising campaign for the BSA and the one in which the organization
received national advertising and marketing awards.
Jay Ruben, a Scouter and the President of a museum featuring artifacts and
items from Stewart's earlier life in the small Pennsylvania town stated that
Stewart continued to be active in Scouting since his youth.
James Stewart was a member of Troop 3, in Indiana, PA for four years (from
1919 to 1923). His highest rank attained was Second Class and he was quoted
during a visit back to his hometown that "the only reason why he didn't make
it to First Class was because he couldn't pass the swimming test." Ruben
has been picked up for service again at this summer's National Scout
Jamboree, working within the Merit Badge Midway as a merit badge coordinator.
Ruben stated "Advancement wasn't as important back then as it is now,"
when asked about Stewart's four years as a Boy Scout yet only to advance to
the second rung (the present Boy Scout rank was introduced in 1973) in Boy
Scouting. Somehow, however, Ruben stated, Stewart was able to earn a couple
of merit badges.
Stewart was honored by the Boy Scouts of America for his service to youth
and to all of America in 1958 with the Silver Buffalo Award. He was honored
for his patriotism during World War II as well as for his acting and service
as a volunteer Scouter as a member of the Advisory Boards of both Orange
County and Los Angeles Area Councils.
The Silver Buffalo Award is the national level version of a series of adult
service recognitions presented by the Boy Scouts of America. Stewart has
also received countless other honors and awards from local Councils in
California as well as in his home state of Pennsylvania.
Stewart played the accordian in the Troop's Boy Scout band, which led him to
the Triangle Club at Princeton University and eventually to a career as an
An Air Force Reserve one-star, Jimmy Stewart was a frequent participant in
Air National Guard and Reserve events in California. He enlisted in the
former Army Air Corps and rose from the rank of Private to his present grade.
During the MSNBC program "The News", Brian Williams commented on Stewart's
legacy and quoted part of Stewart's line from "The Man Who Shot Liberty
Vallance", one of several westerns starring Jimmy Stewart.
"Where the myth becomes the legend, " Stewart stated in the movie,
"print the legend."
He will be missed not only by the movie-going public, but also by those of
us within Scouting -- and those of us on the sidelines as he was for many
years, cheering and supporting the Scouting program.
(information for this posting came from various print and web sources in
addition to the Jimmy Stewart Museum, Indiana, PA and the BSA's External
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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