Dean Stewart '50


Dean Russell Stewart of Champaign passed away at 10:15 a.m. Sunday (Feb. 9, 2014).

Dean was born June 15, 1928, in Pontiac, the only son of Gladys (Jones) Stewart and Russell Stewart. Dean attended Urbana schools graduating from high school in 1946. That fall, he entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and joined the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

His studies were interrupted with military service in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1954, where he obtained the rank of staff sergeant. While serving his country, Dean met Betty Louise Botter of Mobile, Ala. They married on Sept. 16, 1952, at the Dauphine Way Baptist Church.

Returning to Urbana, Dean completed his studies earning a bachelor's degree in commerce.

Dean joined the Russell Stewart Oil Company, subsequently known as Tri Star Marketing, in 1954 as sales manager, advancing to vice president, president and eventually chairman. Dean retired from Tri Star Marketing in 2009 having shaped the organization from its roots as a local fuels and lubricants distributor to a sophisticated multi-state retailer operating convenience stores and travel centers.

Throughout his career, Dean served in numerous community and industry leadership roles: director, Illinois Chamber of Commerce; founding board member, Champaign County Chamber of Commerce; president, Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association; director and legislative chairman, National Oil Jobbers Council; director, Champaign National Bank and its successor Bank Illinois; chairman, Central Illinois Financial Corporation; president, Urbana Association of Commerce; president, Urbana Country Club; and trustee of Carle Foundation Hospital.

Dean was a past member of the Urbana Rotary Club, Urbana Country Club and most recently the Champaign Country Club.

Dean is survived by his wife Betty of 61 years and their three children, Jon Stewart (Kendy), Kathryn Derezinski (Tom) and Russ Stewart; and seven grandchildren, Preston Stewart, Taylor Stewart, Parker Stewart, Connor Stewart, Nick DelSignore, Peyton Stewart and Carson Stewart.

Dean was an avid golfer, having won several championships at Urbana Country Club. He also participated and supported local and state golf competitions for many years.

Dean was a diehard Illini fan, intensely loyal to his alma mater. He participated and held leadership positions in the Quarterback Club and was a founding member of the Rebounders Club.

Dean and Betty spent a great deal of time at their condo in Perdido Key, Fla. Memories abound of the fun times with family and friends on the white sand beaches just outside their door.

The Stewart family would like to thank the caregivers at Bridle Brook Adult Community of Mahomet, as well as those at Meadow Brook-Clark-Lindsey Village, for their care and concern for Dean during his last few years.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family would request that memorials be directed to The High School of St. Thomas More or the University of Illinois Foundation.