Eulogists Prompt with Praise for `Stub'

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), January 11, 2005 | Go to article overview

Eulogists Prompt with Praise for `Stub'


Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard

Like the man himself, the memorial service for L.L. "Stub" Stewart on Monday was generous, patriotic, funny - and to the point.

"We're on Bohemia time," declared friend Tom Hoyt, intent on concluding the service at Eugene Faith Center within an hour - per Stewart's instructions to be punctual and keep it brief.

But within that hour - well, maybe a few minutes over - an estimated 400 people found time to laugh, applaud, pray and stand silent in memory of Stewart, the longtime Bohemia Lumber Co. titan who died Jan. 2 of congestive heart failure.

Stewart was involved with Bohemia from 1946 - when he bought the then-small firm with his brother and brother-in-law - until 1986, when he retired as board chairman. The company, which at one time was the largest wood products enterprise in Lane County, was sold to Willamette Industries in 1991.

But "timber baron" was only one of several titles Stewart wore, friends recalled Monday. He also served as philanthropist, state legislator, state historian, community activist and patriot. He was the force behind the effort to erect a flag at Eugene's Skinner's Butte, a tribute not only to memorialized war dead but to Stewart and his perseverance, Hoyt said.

At once complex and down-to-earth, Stewart brings to mind "the tale of the blind man and the elephant," said Mike Thoele, author of a definitive book on the Bohemia company. "The man lived larger than life, and none of us knew all of him."

Thoele, a former Register-Guard reporter, said he interviewed Stewart once a week for a year and half while researching the book titled "Bohemia."

Those interviews, he said, constituted "graduate school in the business of life."

"Through Stub, I saw an Oregon I'd never known," said Thoele. "Kingmakers and scalawags came alive as he told their stories. His knowledge of Oregon was encyclopedic."

While Stewart contributed plenty of money to high-profile causes, he helped out many more times - to help a student finish college, complete a Boy Scouts campground or underwrite a concert series he would never attend - with no fanfare or public attention, Thoele said.

"His was a private, quiet philanthropy," he said.

Hoyt, a lawyer, described Stewart as a mentor who expected prompt meetings and quick action.

Stewart christened Hoyt with the nickname of "Lugwrench" after Hoyt suffered a flat tire in the middle of nowhere in the dark of night during an excursion to Eastern Oregon, and didn't have a lug wrench. …

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