Stella Stewart of Lawrenceville, NJ (and of Pennington, NJ for 50 years) died peacefully on March 13, 2020 at 96. She is survived by her identical twin Grace Clarke with whom she lived in a skilled nursing facility and is survived by and predeceased by many other loving family members listed below.
Stella and Grace were born in 1923 to a Scottish chambermaid and an English butler who met after immigrating to NYC. They lived with their parents and older brother in a tenement flat when such buildings were still prevalent and “the El” (elevated railway) rattled nearby. Stella’s central lifelong passions took shape there: devotion to the Presbyterian church (Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in NYC [MAPC] and later Pennington Presbyterian Church in NJ); commitment to women’s education (the twins were the first women in the family to go to college and beyond); unwavering service to others; devotion to family and a love of accounting. She and her twin were a magnificent pair – smart, curious, generous, never cross, humble, honest and skilled. Stella passed away with her sister by her side
Because her father was the butler for a wealthy family, Stella spent summers by the ocean when the family relocated to a cottage on the employer’s estate. There she developed a love of nature, swimming and many sports. Later, the twins became Hunter College badminton champions.
Because of her mother’s feisty determination to ensure her children’s education, Stella and her twin attended Hunter College where she majored in business and accounting. This led to a very successful accounting career in a prominent NYC accounting firm where she met her future husband, Aubrey Stewart.
During WWII, when field-auditor positions opened up for women, Stella took on the challenge. After the war, however, these women were asked to step aside to make room for (the mostly male) returning veteran accountants. While she did this gracefully and excelled in other firm positions, she often shared her story. She was a strong woman and a quiet “path breaker” with an unwavering moral compass who embraced justice for others and women’s rights.
Stella and Aubrey, wonderful life-long partners, found the perfect setting for their lives in a historic house dating from the 1700s on 11-acres in NJ. They impeccably maintained their home and opened it for gatherings with relatives, church family and neighbors. All who knew them, loved and respected them. Although they had no children of their own, they embraced her brother’s and cousin’s children (seven in all) and numerous grandchildren.
After essentially growing up in MAPC, she and Aubrey moved to NJ, joined the Pennington Presbyterian Church and, along with her twin, became invaluable members of the church family. They served on many committees in many roles. As the church treasurer, Stella crafted a successful capital campaign to renovate the historic church buildings.
Stella loved the Hopewell township area, was a devoted member of the community, became a successful real estate broker and helped shape the area’s land-use policy.
Generous with her time, talents and home, she brought her father from NYC, after her mother’s passing, to share his final years with them under her loving care. And later, she opened her home to one after another, friend and family, to do the same under her tender, faithful care in these rural tranquil surroundings.
In addition to her twin, Stella is survived by her: cousin Fred Clarke & family in TX; her brother’s children Randall of CO, Jordan Clarke (Valerie) of NJ & his daughter Chelsea of CA/NY and Holly Clarke of NYC; her cousin’s children Betsy Yost Schlossman (Marty d.) of KS & family, Mady Gach (Dick d.) of NY & family and Peter Yost (Kathy) & family; nephew in-law Russell Lidman (Raven d.) of WA & his children Hannah Lidman Schiovitz (Dan) and Shane Lidman (Lisa) and three greatnephews; relatives in Scotland and many other extended family and friends.
Stella was predeceased by her husband Aubrey Stewart; her brother A. Roger Clarke of NY (1st wife Gay, 2nd wife Jeannette), her brother’s daughter Raven Clarke Lidman of WA and her cousins Betty Yost (George d.) of FL and Peggy Grant of NJ.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Pennington Presbyterian Church, https://pennpres.org/online-giving/