Richard Stewart, age 83 of Goodyear, AZ died February 7, 2019. He was born September 22, 1935, in Charleston, WV. Richard had a tough upbringing in West Virginia, but he made it out and moved to Michigan. He graduated from Ford Motor Company vocational school, an education that was interrupted by being drafted into the US Air Force and serving in Chateauroux, France as a Radar Technician. While there, he raced Opal GT’s and played football against NATO teams across Europe. After four years in France, he returned to finish school and started working for Ford Motor Company in Detroit on the assembly line. He quickly realized this was not for him and changed over to the engineering department at General Motor Fisher Body in Detroit and had a successful 33-year career.
During his GM career, he pioneered the development of the seat belt that has saved countless lives. Dick was recognized by GM as their seatbelt subject matter expert and transitioned into becoming an expert witness. He worked many high-profile cases that saved GM millions of dollars in false claims. After his career at GM, he became a freelance subject matter expert and helped other car companies like Ford and Toyota.
During his career, he married Kay and they raised four children. When he finally retired, he traveled the US for several years in a motor home, finally settling in Phoenix, AZ. Richard was always looking for ways to keep active, so he volunteered for a variety of church organizations in the area and became a Chaplain for the Avondale Police Department. The highlight of his life was getting Gracie, a 120-pound bull retriever and training her to be a service dog. Together they performed at many events and won many awards for service with the Police Department and the community.
Richard is survived by his daughters, Kim Soave and Patricia Rowden; sons, Michael Stewart and Richard Stewart Jr.; 10 Grandchildren; and four Great-Grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 12:30 pm, Friday, February 22, 2019, at The Church at Litchfield Park, 300 N Old Litchfield Rd, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you donate to the Phoenix 100 Club or The Church at Litchfield Park.