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Mary Lee Smith Stewart was born to Abram John Smith and Mathilda M. (Akenson) Smith at Hillcrest Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 11, 1922. She graduated from Central High School in Minneapolis in June of 1939 and earned a bachelor's degree from St. Cloud State University in 1943. In the fall of that year, she began teaching English and speech at Aitkin High School.

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In 1947, she married William (Bill) Stewart. After 53 years of marriage, Bill died in 2002. Their survivors include their sons, William C. (Jennie) Stewart, Jr., of Menomonie, Wis., John F. Stewart of Chisholm and James L. Stewart of Big Lake; three grandchildren, Jori, Adam and Katelyn; two nieces, Donna Bjorklund and Jan Gilmer; and one nephew James Boyer.

Mary's teaching career lasted 35 years, spent mostly in Aitkin and McGregor. In 1965, after earning a minor in library science from Moorhead and St. Cloud colleges, she came to Aitkin's Riverside School to open a children's library in the new school. She retired in 1984.

For many years she enjoyed Friends of the Library, The Reader's Group, Family Council at Riverwood Extended Care and Aitkin Health Services, many high school reunions and all the contacts with former students. Her life was blessed and enriched by her church family Calvary Baptist/Westside Church where she was actively involved from 1950 to the present. Her children were always a source of joy and loving care.

Mary passed away Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at her home in Aitkin. She was 88.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov., 16, 2010 at Westside Church in Aitkin with Pastor Dallas Smith. Family and friends are invited to gather Monday afternoon from 4-6 p.m. at the Westside Church in Aitkin and one hour prior to services on Tuesday. Interment will take place in Spencer Cemetery.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Brenny Funeral Chapel in Baxter.

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