Ernest Lee Stewart

Mar 6, 1915 - Sep 12, 2011

Obituary

E. Lee Stewart, of Billings, died, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 at Billings Clinic & Hospital.

Lee was born in Miles City, on March 5, 1915, to Ernest and Nancy Stewart. He had one brother, William Stewart, who preceded him in death.

He was married to Lucille Ayers, sister to Roy Ayers, the governor of Montana from 1937 to 1941. Lucille also preceded Lee in death, due to an automobile accident in 1973.

Lee spent his youth growing up on a ranch in Powder River, near Miles City. He and his brother helped work the cows and round up the semi-wild horses. In 1937, after many lean years on the ranch, the family moved to Warm Springs, where Lee worked as an orderly at the state mental hospital. While there he became infatuated with airplanes after attending an air show in Miles City. Despite having dropped out of high school, he went on to get a technical college degree in Burbank, Calif. in 1940, completing the program July 1941. He was hired as a civilian employee as a hydraulics mechanic at McClellan Air Force Base in California. Lee enjoyed a 33-year federal career.

In 1977, he returned to Montana to be near family. Upon returning, Lee developed a strong friendship with Beverly Cocker, who became a long-time companion until her death. Lee spent time taking care of what he called his “high maintenance” property on the far West End of Billings and volunteered at the Billings Airport Information Center every Sunday for 33 years.

Lee is survived by his sons, Jack and Randy; their wives, Kathy and Michele; and grandchildren Gary, Melissa, Tamara, and Travis. He is also survived by Sandi Stewart and family, Bill and Rosemary Stewart and family, Gary and Connie Stewart and family, and the family of Kay and Mel Johnson.

He was preceded in death by brother Bill (Irene) Stewart, Don Stewart, Kay and Mel Johnson.

We will hold a celebration of Lee’s Life at Gusick’s Restaurant, 760 S. 20 W., Billings, on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations can be made in Lee’s name to the Billings Animal Rescue Kare (BARK), 111 Moore Ave., Billings.

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Funeral Home:
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary
1001 Alderson Avenue
Billings, MT
US 59102

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