Submitted by the Will County Board
With great sadness, the Will County Board announces the passing of longtime board member Frank Stewart, 66, (D-Joliet). Stewart represented the people of district 8 since 1996. He was the Minority Whip and served on the judicial committee as well as the public health & safety committee.
“Frank was an excellent advocate for his district and the African-American community,” said Chairman Jim Moustis. “He was passionate about his community and church, always looking for opportunities to help people in underserved areas. On behalf of the board, I extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends across the country.”
Stewart was born May 23, 1945 and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was active in the Civil Rights movement during the 1960’s and worked as a social worker in the education field, mentoring many young people. He was also a founding member of the Community Health Board, advocating for health services in underserved areas.
“I am sorry to see Frank's passing,” said Minority Leader Walter Adamic (D-Joliet). “He was always very active in his community and worked on numerous challenging issues, especially healthcare and education. On behalf of the board, we are going to miss his presence, hard work and wisdom.”
Among Stewart’s many battles was the fight for improvements to water and sewer services for Ridgewood residents which he called one of his “top priorities.” He also helped to build a new federally-qualified health clinic in Joliet, serving the entire Will County population including low-income and uninsured residents.
Stewart was active in the National Association of Counties (NACo), serving as vice chair of the health steering committee, chair of the indoor air quality committee and as a member of the committees on health disparity. He was successful in bringing the NACo discount prescription drug card to Will County residents.
“Frank Stewart has been an asset to the Will County Board, the Joliet community and NACo,” said board member Denise Winfrey (D-Joliet), also representing district 8. “He has spent a lifetime working for improvements in the Joliet area. His passing leaves a great sadness on our hearts. Frank Stewart will truly be missed.”
Stewart also previously served on the board of Joliet School District 86 for 19 years and as president for one term. He was formerly a treasurer of the Will County Health Clinic as well as treasurer of Agape Missions which serves HIV/AIDS and at-risk populations in the south and southwest suburbs.
"Frank Stewart was one of the good ones," said district 8 board member Herbert Brooks, Jr. (D-Joliet). "He did not put up an argument, but he did speak his feelings and then let his vote on issues say the rest. I respected his opinions and regularly looked to his wisdom for direction. Frank will be dearly missed."
Stewart’s involvement in his community also led him to sit as a member of the executive board of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. He was a member of the Joliet Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as well as the Joliet Kiwanis Club and formerly a member of the board of Easter Seals of Will County.
Stewart was also an active member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church for 30 years.