Ronald L. Stewart, 77
Ronald L. Stewart of Blue Bell, Pa., and Vineyard Haven, died on
August 26 at his home on Martha’s Vineyard. He was 77. Mr. Stewart was a
senior business executive and leader in the pharmaceutical industry for
34 years. He died in his sleep; his death was sudden as he had not been
Mr. Stewart retired in 1999 from Merck, a global
pharmaceutical manufacturer. At that time, he was executive director in
charge of long-term care, marketing and sales. Before joining Merck,
Stewart worked for 24 years at SmithKline Beecham — now GlaxoSmithKline —
in Philadelphia. There he held positions in marketing, national
accounts, government affairs and human resources, eventually rising to
vice president of corporate accounts.
Born in Philadelphia, he
graduated from Northeast High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in
education from Cheyney University and a master’s degree in education
administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
served in the Marine Corps before taking a job as an elementary school
teacher in the Moorestown Township public schools. He lived in
Moorestown for more than three decades before moving with his family to
Blue Bell, Pa., in 1995.
He graduated from the Harvard University
School of Public Health’s executive program in health policy and
management, and was one of the first non-lawyers appointed to the New
Jersey Supreme Court District Ethics Committee.
He was a member of
the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacists, American Pharmaceutical
Association, American Health Care Association and the Kappa Alpha Psi
and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.
Before he left Merck, Mr. Stewart was given a lifetime achievement award for his contributions.
also received many awards for community service. The New Jersey General
Assembly honored him for his work as chairman of the board of directors
of Family Service of Burlington County. In 1999 he was named to the
Philadelphia Northeast High School Wall of Fame.
larger-than-life presence, formidable intellect and practical
sensibilities” inspired all who knew him, his family said in a
Mr. Stewart enjoyed traveling with his wife, the former
Ardelia Purnell, whom he met at Cheyney. For their 50th wedding
anniversary, the two went to South Africa. Earlier, they spent time in
Brazil, Italy and France.
But he was most at home sailing, golfing
and puttering in the yard at his home on Martha’s Vineyard, where he
spent more than 25 happy years with friends and family. "The day before
he died, we talked about how much we loved the Vineyard,” said his wife.
"I’m grateful that he spent his last day in the place he loved most.”
his wife of 53 years, he is survived by a son, Maitland Stewart of
Montclair, N.J., and a daughter, Adriane Stewart of Brooklyn, N.Y.; his
mother, Mozelle Stewart; his sister, Brenda Stewart; his daughter in
law, Elise Boddie, and his grandson.