Stewart, Connie

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STEWART, Connie

Connie Ward Stewart 11/19/1938-4/13/2022, born Oconee County, GA, daughter of Fred Tendal Ward, Elsie Janes Ward. Celebration of Life: April 30, 2pm, The Carter Presidential Center.

Stewart was a lifelong educator, journalist, and campaign strategist, known as a trailblazer for women. A graduate of Athens High, Connie was the first in her family to attend college. With Master's degrees from UGA (Phi Beta Kappa) and later education at Harvard and George Washington Universities, she received the Alumna Achievement Award from UGA School of Journalism in 1996. She also edited the Oconee Enterprise.

Connie worked at WSB-TV, married newscaster Don Stewart, and had one daughter, Sheri Lyn. She taught in Atlanta public schools and was faculty and Dir. of Orientation at UGA where she achieved racial diversity among the student Orientation Leaders. She was even the inspiration for the hit love song Still, as confirmed by country music writer/singer Bill Anderson. At age 23, she was appointed by Gov. Carl Sanders to the GA State Scholarship Commission. She was on Jimmy Carter's gubernatorial campaign teams and he appointed her to the nation's first State Film Commission.

After residing in Tampa with second husband, journalist/educator Emory "Pete" Sasser, Stewart headed to DC, creating the US Dept. of Education on the Carter White House Transition Team, and was Policy Communications Dir. for Education with Asst. Secretary of Education in HEW, Dr. Mary Francis Berry. Stewart became the first female VP in the Big Ten at Michigan State University and Assoc. VP at Emory, and was on the Carter Center Board of Councilors, Bid Committee for the 1996 Olympics, and The Atlanta Project. Throughout her life, she volunteered for numerous non-profits.

Connie's greatest joy remained family and friends. She adored grandsons Tendal Jaret and Royce Carter Mann and their mom, actor/filmmaker Sheri Mann Stewart, all Atlantans, as well as her "third and best" husband Nicholas Vista, and enjoyed traveling with them throughout the US and Europe. Her family is grateful to the staff at Sunrise Decatur for the care they provided during her years with Alzheimer's. In her grandson's words, " …she will continue to live on through the actions and words of everyone she touched, from family and friends to students and co-workers to the countless young women whom she inspired through her barrier-breaking work…".

In lieu of flowers, donations in her name are encouraged: The Carter Center; Emory University MLK Scholarship; MSU Student Emergency Assistance Fund. Details may be found on the Lord and Stephens website.

Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, EAST, Athens, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com

Funeral Home Information

Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel