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Coach, educator Stewart dies

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By Chris Edwards
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Bulldog Colmesneil logoCOLMESNEIL – A true icon of Texas high school baseball, of Colmesneil ISD, and the city of Colmesneil, died last Monday.

Ben Stewart, Jr., a teacher, coach and school administrator, died at the age of 75, in Woodville, from complication of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Stewart was one of the most legendary coaches in Texas high school baseball history, with four state championship victories to his credit, and having led the Colmesneil Bulldogs to six appearances at the UIL State Baseball Finals.

A Tyler County native, Stewart grew up in Rockland and graduated from Colmesneil High School. After college, he coached and taught and Mineola and Corpus Christi for a year in each locale, and then returned to his alma mater, where he coached, taught history and worked as an administrator, as high school principal, for 38 years, before retiring.

Stewart coached the Bulldog baseball team for decades, with championship titles in 1980, 85, 86 and 1990, which put him in the record books of Texas high school baseball as the coach with the most state championship rings, and as one of the first coaches with consecutive wins. In the 1986 season, the ‘Dogs earned a 28-0 record defending their title under Stewart’s leadership. The school also earned the titles of State Finalists for the 1979 season and Semi-Finalist in 1989.

His accomplishments on the diamond also earned him a place in the Texas Baseball Coaches’ Hall of Fame.

In 2019, the Colmesneil ISD baseball field was renamed to honor Stewart, as the Handley-Stewart Field, which also co-honored the late CISD administrator James Handley.

His family noted in his obituary that Stewart was an honest and fair man with a great sense of humor, who loved the Dallas Cowboys and to be surrounded by family, colleagues, former students and friends.

Memorials to Stewart can be made to the Colmesneil Athletics program by sending a contribution to PO Box 37, Colmesneil, TX 75938, or funds can be delivered to either Stewart’s daughter Dena Settlocker or CISD Athletic Director George Taylor to go toward the program, with the text “Ben Stewart’s Memorial” in the memo line for check contributions.

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