Jacqlyn Stewart was a California girl, who moved to Jay, Florida and became the Mayor of that town, beating the incumbent of 35 years in what she considered one of her proudest accomplishments.
She was born in Seattle on December 29, 1946, to Frederick and Pattie Gerber. She grew up in Santa Rosa, California, oldest of four children. She is survived by her sister Marian and brothers Bruce and Mark. She helped teach swimming and playing basketball in times when women were not expected to be involved in sports. While racing around the Pacific Coast Highway in her VW Bug, she met Haywood Stewart, an Army Intelligence officer. Forgoing her dream of being an astronaut, followed him as he moved around Florida following his job. She had two girls, Marian and Juliett, and returned to California for 3 years. She raised the children and worked at City Hall while Haywood attended college on the GI Bill.
Returning to Haywood’s home of Jay, Florida in 1976, she worked for Container Corporation while also working in real estate and helping her husband in his bookkeeping business. After getting her two girls through school, she decided to go back to get her own college degree, studying at Jefferson Davis and Pensacola Junior College before getting her degree in 1997. After her husband passed in 2002, she ran the business by herself for several years. She was also Mayor during this time, which was more fun than she ever expected it would be.
She remarried in 2007 to Oakland Ard and started pursuing other interests more seriously. She had no fear of trying new restaurants, even alone, and loved watching local plays, always making sure to praise the performers for their talents. She spent many years working with Take Stock in Children, mentoring students and helping determine scholarships and benefits. She helped raise her grandchildren Jacob, Lee, Twig and Stone, and also adopted her new husband’s family as part of her own nephews, nieces and cousins.
She passed on December 1, 2019 after a short hospital stay. She has asked that her life be celebrated with bright colors and laughter. This will be done at the Jay First Baptist Church. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 from 6 – 8 p.m. A celebration service will be held Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 1 p.m. also at the church. Burial will follow at Cora Cemetery.
Trahan Family Funeral Home of Milton is handling arrangements.