Framer of Alaska's constitution
"Aside from everything else - great judge, great lawyer, framer of the constitution, war hero, all that stuff - he was just the kind of person that you could spend three or four hours with and it was just completely enjoyable because he was such a nice guy."
Those who knew Judge Thomas Stewart describe him as an avid outdoorsman, decorated veteran, devoted family man, savvy politician, respected judge and champion of the arts.

"Aside from everything else - great judge, great lawyer, framer of the constitution, war hero, all that stuff - he was just the kind of person that you could spend three or four hours with and it was just completely enjoyable because he was such a nice guy," Alaska Supreme Court Justice Walter "Bud" Carpeneti said.

Stewart died Dec. 12 and a celebration of life will be held for him at 1 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall. The service is open to the public.

Born in Seattle on Jan. 1, 1919, Stewart moved with his family to Juneau when he was three weeks old. Childhood friend Dean Williams said Stewart enjoyed spending time in the outdoors.

"We did a lot of crazy things together," Williams said. "We used to climb real steep mountains."

In their 88 years of friendship, Williams said the two spent many hours together in the mountains climbing, hunting and skiing.

"When you do these things like climbing together, you depend on each other for saving each others' lives sometimes," Williams said. "That's a bond that you can't get any other way. It's the strongest bond there is."

Stewart was able to use his outdoor knowledge and experience during his service with the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division in World War II, during which he earned bronze and silver stars.

On two separate occasions, Carpeneti went to Italy with Stewart to retrace the path the division took into the Alps to help liberate Europe from Nazi occupation.

"Both of them were among the most interesting and rewarding experiences of my life," Carpeneti said.

The favorable impression Stewart and his fellow soldiers left on the Italians was evident more than half a century after liberation, he said.


Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Remembering the man: Judge Thomas Stewart poses for a picture in his Dimond Courthouse office in January 1996. A memorial service will be held in his honor at 1 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall.


Photo by Joseph W.Alexander / Courtesy of UAF/UAF-1968-16-1

March 21 ,1955: Governor B. Heintzleman signing bill authorizing a statehood convention to be held Novemenber 8, 1955 at the University of Alaska. Right to left: Repr. Tom Stewart, Juneau; Senator John Butrovich ,Fairbanks; Senator Earl Cooper, Anchorage; House Speaker, Wendell Kay, Anchorage; Senate President, James Nolan, Wrangell; House Minority leader, Joseph McLean, Juneau.