Judge Stuart Is Dead After Brief Illness
(21 January 1915)
Honored Career of Distinguished Superior Court Jurist Is
Sudden Death Is Shock To Entire Community
Nearly Half Century of Service in Public Life
Gained for Public Spirited Citizen Affection of People of the City
In the death of Judge William J. Stuart, at the family residence, 139
Lafayette avenue, S.E., yesterday afternoon, after a comparatively few hours
illness, Grand Rapids is deprived of the influence and usefulness of one of its
esteemed and best loved citizens and the superior court of a jurist who had
gained the confidence of the peacekeeping citizens of the city by his humane
application of the law in meting out justice to offenders brought before him for
Judge Stuart was stricken Tuesday night about 7 o'clock, by an acute attack of angina pectoris, a chest affliction which had troubled him for a year or more, although up to his last illness it was not considered serious. He was critically ill from that time until his death, at 2:45 o'clock, and while he retained consciousness until the last his recovery was a matter of doubt.
Up to Tuesday afternoon Judge Stuart had been able to attend to his duties on the superior court bench, although at times he complained of weariness and a slight trouble by his affliction, but he had expressed the assurance to his friends that his indisposition was merely temporary. His death, therefore, was a shock to the community, for none was better known nor more highly regarded. Immediately upon the announcement of his death the circuit and police courts closed for the day.
Judge Stuart's Career
The career of Judge Stuart, from the time he acquired his education until he
died, was synonymous with the highest principles of good citizenship. He was
born at Yankee Springs, Barry county, Mich., in 1845, was therefore 70 years
old. His early advantages were limited but with characteristic determination he
grappled the problems of life and by his own efforts procured the means of
gaining education. From his early trials his life had been one of successes,
sometimes punctuated with sorrows and troubles that come to all human kind, but
from a pupil in a grade school he gradually surmounted difficulties, working his
way through the University of Michigan, mainly by teaching, he advanced to the
principalship of the schools in Hastings, mastered the study of law, became
assistant prosecuting attorney of Kent county, assistant attorney general of
Michigan, prosecuting attorney, city attorney, subsequently mayor of Grand
Rapids and finally crowned a life of usefulness and wholesome influence as judge
of the superior court.
He is survived by his widow, a niece, Mrs. Edith Parsons of Detroit, who was regarded as a daughter, and who lived with the family up to the time of her marriage, about seven years ago. Two brothers and one sister also survive, John N. Stuart, of Yankee Springs, Mich.; Thomas Stuart, of Gaines township, and Mrs. W. J. Ritchie, of Middleville, Mich.
The funeral will be held at the family home, 139 Lafayette avenue, N. E., Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Bishop John N. McCormick, of the Episcopal diocese, and Dean Francis S. White, of St. Marks pro cathedral, will conduct the services. Burial will be private in Oak Hill cemetery.
Superior Court Judge Who Gave Many Years of Service to Public
Judge Stuart came to Grand Rapids 42 years ago from Kalamazoo. Previous to
his graduation from the University of Michigan he taught school about two years
to acquire enough to defray his expenses. He graduated with the class in
literature in 1868 and law in 1871. After his graduation he became principal of
the schools at Hastings. It was here that he formed an attachment for Miss Kate
I. Hadley and they were married in 1874. No children have blessed their union.
Mrs. Loyal E. Knapp is a sister of Mrs. Stuart.
After leaving Hastings he located in Kalamazoo, where he engaged in the practice o f law as a member of the firm of Balch, Stuart & Balch, not long afterward coming to Grand Rapids during 1873. He engaged in the practice of law in this city and became a partner with Edwin F. Sweet, the firm continuing until 1888. In 1889 the became associated with the law firm of Stuart & Knappen, until 1893. From that time until 1898 he was a member of the firm of Stuart & Barker. After practicing alone for a short time the firm of Stuart & Heald was formed and continued for some time.
Created: 29 November 2009