Texas banking leader Robert Stewart III diesThe Dallas Morning News: Obituaries
Texas banking leader Robert Stewart III
Civic activist's credits include guiding merger of Frito Lay, PepsiCo
...Robert H. Stewart III
, who followed in the footsteps of his
father and grandfather to become a giant in Texas banking and a beloved Dallas civic leader, died early Thursday of complications of a stroke at Baylor University Medical Center
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, 3821 University Park Blvd. in Dallas.He
will be buried in a private ceremony at Grove Hill Memorial Park. "Stewart was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary impact on people," said Bob Strauss, a lawyer and former ambassador to Russia.
was among the generation of bankers who were devoted to building Dallas and had the clout to do so. His
involvement ranged from president of the Dallas Citizens Council
to board member of the State Fair
also served on several national banking groups. Among Mr. Stewart's greatest accomplishments was the 1965 marriage of Frito Lay and PepsiCo, where he served on the board for 31 years.
The merger was significant not only from a banking standpoint but also for its impact on the local business environment. "Whenever we had any problem or were looking to buy someone, Bobby was involved," said Donald M. Kendall, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
Gene Bishop, a longtime friend who worked both with Mr. Stewart
and as a competitor, said the banker was "a handsome man of legendary wit, charm, and astuteness, with a bit of irascibility."
...Ron Steinhart, a close friend and former chairman of Bank One Texas, called Mr. Stewart "as loyal a friend as you could ever find."
...Born in Dallas, Robert H. Stewart III was a Golden Gloves boxer.He was a graduate of Kemper Military Academy, now Kemper Military School and College, in Booneville, Mo.He was an athlete at Southern Methodist University when, in July 1945, he became an Army officer in Korea.After his service, Mr. Stewart returned to SMU to complete his bachelor's degree. In 1949, Mr. Stewart went to work for Empire Bank in Dallas as a runner, the lowest position in banking.In 1951, he joined First National Bank as an assistant cashier.He was promoted to assistant vice president and in 1959 was named senior vice president. In 1960, at age 34, he was named president of First National Bank, the second largest bank in Texas and the 29th largest U.S. commercial bank.
At the time, he
was one of the youngest presidents of a major bank.
For the next 20 years, Mr. Stewart
led First National
, which became InterFirst Corp.
, a major bank holding company.Under his
leadership, the Dallas bank
became one of the Southwest's largest banking organizations.
In 1987, Mr. Stewart
left the bank after a merger with cross-town rival RepublicBank Corp. created First RepublicBank Corp.In 1990 Mr. Stewart joined Team Bank, which later merged with Bank One Texas.He was a semi-retired Bank One executive at the time of his death. Mr. Stewart also had leadership roles with the American Red Cross, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, SMU's board of trustees, and Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.
In 1961 the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce
named Mr. Stewart
one of five outstanding young Texans. Mr. Stewart
is survived by his
wife, JoAnn Stewart of Dallas; two daughters, Cynthia C. Stewart of Dallas, and Alice P. Stewart of Rockville, Md.; two stepdaughters, Shelley Green and Julie Winn, both of Dallas; his
sister, Alice Stewart Eno of Princeton, N.J.; and five grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Southwestern Medical Foundation
, 2305 Cedar Springs Road, Suite 150, Dallas, TX 75201; or SMU
, P.O. Box 750402, Dallas, TX 75275.