Amherst Magazine

Pearson H. Stewart ’40

Pearson H. Stewart ’40 died March 14, 2010.
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Pearson, a native of Boston’s Hyde Park and a rugged, loyal son of the college, died at Chapel Hill, N.C., on March 14, 2010.

            Pearson was a history major, a great outdoorsman, a skier and a member of the Outing Club and Beta Theta Pi; he was a square dancer of note. The great focus of his activities at Amherst, however, was as a member of the stage crew at Kirby Theater. Impressed by the skillful hard work of  six men of 1940 (Davis, Dolbeare, Kitchell, Leary, Stewart, Tinker), a production, supposedly the first American production of Henrik Ibsen’s huge opus, “Peer Gynt,” was produced in two parts (with 37 separate sets, full orchestra playing Grieg’s incidental music, “over a 100 dancing, singing characters, including Mount Holyoke and Smith students.”)

            “Peer Gynt” fully tested the capacity of the new theater and the ability and dedication of Pearson and the other members of the stage crew. The equivalent of a varsity A was awarded.

Pearson served in the Pacific on the photo-interpretation staffs of aircraft carriers in WWII; he was awarded the Bronze Star. Thereafter, he returned to MIT to resume city planning studies interrupted in 1942.

            His master’s diploma in hand, Pearson commenced a long and fruitful planning career. This included service as assistant secretary for planning in North Carolina’s Department of Transportation and ended as the head honcho of the planning and construction of the Research Triangle Foundation, from which he retired in 1990.

            Pearson’s wife, Jean Baker, died in 1999. His daughter, Jean, and son, Colin ’70, survive him, as do two brothers, David and Reed ’50, and three grandchildren, Matthew ’96, Becca ’01 and Paul, who graduated from Wesleyan in 2001.

—Louis P. Dolbeare ’40

 

 

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