The term all-around athlete has seldom been defined better than by the career of Les Stewart, Linfield class of 1934.
In four years, Stewart won 14 letters, tying the school record, in four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track. He started on the football team as a running back, was a Northwest Conference all-star as a guard in basketball, was catcher on the baseball team, and set a Northwest Conference record in the long jump. He also ran the 100- and 220-yard dashes. Stewart earned two varsity sweaters and won the Lever Award as Linfield's top athlete in 1933-34.
Hall of Fame Coach Henry Lever called him "the best all-around athlete I ever had anything to do with." But, more important even than his impressive athletic feats, classmate and roommate Paul Durham says of Leslie Stewart: "He was a wonderful man, a wonderful person, a wonderful classmate, and a wonderful fellow athlete."
Mr. Stewart passed away in 1970, 30 years ago, but
coach Durham still recalls that he applied his social science major
even as an undergraduate.
"He was clever, had a great sense of humor and was well liked by everybody on campus," Durham says.
Stewart came to Linfield from a farm at Perrydale and Bethel High School (since consolidated with Amity), 10 miles south of McMinnville.
"It was good for us because it was during the
Depression and we could live at home," says his sister, Margery
Hamstreet, who was a year behind him at Linfield. Stewart returned
to Perrydale for the major part of his professional career, coaching
and teaching for 21 years from 1943 to 1963. He also was principal
for a time.
He also coached football and basketball and taught at Glendale High, from 1934-39; was an educational adviser in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp from 1939-42; and coached basketball three years at Sheridan High from 1965-67. In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Les Stewart gave other legacies to Linfield: His two sons, Sam and Robert, both attended Linfield. Robert passed away in 1992. Sam Stewart will accept the Hall of Fame induction on his father's behalf.