Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Caroline Hartwell Stewart May 26, 1926 - Nov. 1, 2014 Gracious Dance Instructor, Traveler and Cinephile

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Caroline Hartwell Stewart May 26, 1926 - Nov. 1, 2014 Gracious Dance Instructor, Traveler and Cinephile

Article excerpt

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the boys attending Mrs. Burgwin's Dancing School in Oakland were required to wear white gloves. They were not required to wear smiles.

But by the time assistant dancing instructor was finished with them, they were gliding across the dance floor - and having a great time doing it.

"She was a character. A lot of fun," said Colvin McCrady, 68, of Sewickley, who learned how to dance from Mrs. Stewart when he was in sixth grade. "She was probably one of the reasons why the guys all came."

Mrs. Stewart, who taught a generation of Pittsburgh's young people how to dance, died Sunday of complications from brain cancer at her Squirrel Hill home. She was 88.

"I'd see her all the time in the community," said Mr. McCrady, of the Downtown brokerage firm Simpson & McCrady. "She had a wonderful life and a great personality."

As a girl, Mrs. Stewart attended The Ellis School in Pittsburgh and Chatham Hall in Chatham, Va. When she was a teen, the onset of World War II drew her into nursing. She volunteered at Eye and Ear Hospital, where her father was president of the board of directors.

"He told her 'We need more volunteers,' and we both did," said Elsie Hillman, 88, a childhood friend and classmate at The Ellis School who remained close to Mrs. Stewart for more than 75 years. "We did tonsils and adenoids."

When she turned 18, Mrs. Stewart enrolled in the Red Cross nurse's aide course, but her interest in nursing waned with the end of the war. She attended Smith College in Massachusetts for three years before returning to Pittsburgh to marry Charles "Scotty" Prescott Stewart Jr. in 1948.

Already a talented dancer - she had learned at Mrs. Hubbell's Dancing School - Mrs. Stewart was dancing with her husband while honeymooning in Bermuda when she was noticed by famed instructor Arthur Murray, who politely asked if he could cut in. …

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