Pike County mourns loss of the ‘family doctor’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2001

Features Editor

Troy and Pike County lost one of its most loved and respected citizens Tuesday.

Dr. William Stewart died Nov. 13, 12001 and all those who knew him mourned the loss of the doctor who served the community so long and so well.

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Rosa Lee Boswell, knew "the good doctor" better than most. She worked along side him for many years and saw him during the best of times and the worst of times.

"And he was always at his best," she said.

Boswell was the nurse supervisor at Beard’s Hospital before the two Troy hospitals, Beard’s and Edge, became one in 1969. She worked with Stewart at both hospitals.

He was no less outstanding as a physician at Beard’s, where working conditions rather crude, than he was at the modern facility when it opened.

"No matter where he practiced or what the conditions were, Dr. Stewart was one of the best doctors I have ever known," Boswell said. "He was a professional – in the way he dressed, in the way he conducted himself with his patients and in the way he conducted himself with the medical staff. There is not one thing that I could say about Dr. Stewart that is not good."

Boswell said Stewart was kind and compassionate and always had the interest of his patients at heart.

"He looked after them and cared for them just like they were members of his own family," she said. "He didn’t let his own needs come before those of his patients and he was just as concerned about those of us who worked with him."

As the nurse supervisor, Boswell made hospital rounds with Stewart and saw him during good times and hard times.

"If he lost a patient, he was saddened and hurt but he was strong for the family," she said. "He would stay right there with them. I admired him for his compassion and his dedication. Everyone who knew him did."

Boswell said Stewart’s concern for the staff, with whom he worked, was just as great as for his patients and their families.

"We would both be tired, but if rounds were running late, he would say, ‘I’m interfering with your supper,’" Boswell said. "He thought about others before he thought about himself. The nurses were never afraid to call him with questions or concerns because he never complained. He was a good doctor and a good man. I worked with him for a long time and I don’t have one bad thing to say about him."

Pike County was a better place because Dr. William Stewart chose to hang his shingle here.

Willie Mae Hobbs knew him as "my doctor" and, like so many hundreds of others, she trusted him completely.

"My mama loved him," Hobbs said. "She thought he could do anything and I guess I did, too. He cared about his patients and he was there any time you needed him."

Stewart delivered Hobbs’ three daughters and, when her second daughter was born, her older daughter had severe bronchitis.

"Dr. Stewart went to the house to see about her every day that I was in the hospital, " Hobbs said. "That’s just the kind of doctor he was. He was the old-fashioned kind of doctor and he was one of the best."

Stewart will be fondly remembered by all who knew him and greatly missed by all who loved him and all who trusted him with their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

He leaves behind a legacy of caring and concern for his fellow man.

There is no greater tribute to a man than to be well remembered. Dr. William P. Stewart will be well remembered.