Edward Stuart Jr. LTC, U.S. Army-retired, of Hayes, a longtime resident of the Virginia Tidewater area, died Feb. 15, 2014 at the age of 96 years.
Ed moved to Virginia right after his separation from the Army in World War II and began a successful career as a consulting forester and later branching out into the real estate appraising market. He was well known and respected in these professions as well as the Virginia Defense Force where he served with great pride for many years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Edward Stuart Jr. was born in Boston, Mass., on June 15, 1917, the son of Edward Stuart Sr. (Major, U.S. Army) and Helen Fox. His father worked for the Red Cross and Ed and his younger sister lived in many parts of the world while growing up. He entered the University of Maine in 1933 at the age of 16, graduating with the Class of 1937 with a degree in Forestry and also a reserve commission in the U.S. Army. He worked for a few years in Canada and then joined the U.S. Forest Service, serving in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming.
He left the Forest Service in early 1942 and applied to go on active duty in the Army. He received his Second Lieutenant bars and was assigned to Camp Croft, S.C., until the Army formed the Civil Affairs branch. His background in forestry made him an ideal selection for this new field who were to be responsible for restoring civil order to the liberated European countries and later governors of occupied Germany. He was sent to study German and the German government at Harvard University and upon graduation, was assigned to the 2nd Civil Affairs Regiment as a Company Commander. He shipped out with his unit in February 1944 aboard the Mauritania and landed in Manchester, England, where his unit began intensive training for the invasion of Europe. He landed in France shortly after D-Day and followed the American elements of the First Army.
After working their way through liberated France, his unit arrived in Belgium shortly before the Battle of the Bulge. Ed was responsible for the evacuation of hundreds of helpless women and children from the battle zone into safe areas and for this feat he was awarded the Belgium Military Cross.
At the war’s end, Ed was transferred to the Military Government in Occupied Germany and served as Forestry Officer for the state of Hesse. While on duty there, Ed managed to locate the famous German, Dr. Carl A. Schenck, founder of the first forestry school in America at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. Ed persuaded the famous forester to work for the American force and was instrumental in ensuring that Dr. Schenck was appointed as the Chief German Forester for Hesse.
Ed served in Germany until the summer of 1946 when he returned home and was honorably discharged as a Captain having served in four major campaigns. He settled in Virginia and began his long career as a consulting forester, spending much time in organizing and serving in professional organizations. In 1948 he became one of the five founders of the Association of Consulting Foresters and was selected its first President. He also served as the first Executive Director for 20 years. For several years he managed the Practicing Foresters Institute, an organization dedicated to providing continuing educational opportunities. He received a congressional appointment to the National Defense Executive Reserve and served for 25 years until 1985.
Ed wrote many articles about forestry and served as a guest lecturer at many universities across the nation and in Canada. In 1976 he received the Virginia Forest Conservationist of the Year Award and in 1986 he received the University of Maine’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was elected a “Fellow” in the prestigious national Explorers Club for his work exploring the Great Dismal Swamp’s forest potential.
In 1976 Ed married Myree Lawler and for many years they worked together operating Eastern Forestry Company. Ed is survived by his wife, Myree; his children, Edward Stuart (Col., USAR- retired), Bruce Stuart (CDR, USNR) and Diane Stuart Perrine; his stepchildren, Vicki Gould, Beth Emmons and Barbara Breedon; five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Services for Ed will be private.