As one of the oldest Adventist World Radio supporters for the past 25 years, Mary Stewart believes that “AWR is one of the best ways to reach the whole world with God’s saving grace.” And she would know! At 103 years young, she has closely followed the ministry and its many projects.
AWR had the privilege of speaking with Mary to learn more about her remarkable life. Born in Battle Creek, Michigan, she was raised in the Methodist faith and became acquainted with Seventh-day Adventists when she began dating Charles “Chuck” Stewart, Jr., who would later become her husband.
“Our romance wasn’t going very far,” Mary told AWR, “because Chuck explained to me about how different our religious beliefs were and that a home divided by religion wouldn’t be pleasant for either of us, or any future children.”
Mary also considered Chuck too short for her. At the time, she had other suitors, including a lanky football player as well as a tall artist who created the Tony the Tiger artwork for the Frosted Flakes cereal boxes.
But as she got to know Chuck better, his height became less important, and he piqued her interest about religion. One day, he suggested, “Why don’t you look at different churches and teachings and compare them with the Bible?”
Mary took a catechism class, asking many questions of the instructor. His frequent response to her was, “It isn’t your place to ask questions. You should just submit to the church.”
This didn’t sit well with her, so she continued her search and finally found what she was looking for. She said, “In the Adventist Church, I found satisfying answers to life’s biggest questions and decided to become an Adventist and spend my life with Chuck.”
One of Mary’s first jobs in college was at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. She vividly remembers her first meeting with Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. He stopped her in a hallway and asked, “Are you a new employee?”
Mary responded, “Yes.”
Then he said, “Please stick out your tongue.”
She did as he asked, and his only response was, “Looks OK. Nice to meet you.”
After receiving her degree in elementary education, Mary taught at public school and volunteered at her local Adventist church and school. She dedicated her life to young people, including her four children.
In March of this year, Mary celebrated her 103rd birthday. This year hasn’t been without its challenges. Not only did she battle COVID-19, but she fell and broke her hip as she was recovering. She hopes to be back to circling her steep driveway with her walker very soon. And as life gets back to normal, she looks forward to sharing Jesus with even more people!
To learn more about how you can help spread the gospel around the world through a gift, visit awr.org/plannedgiving.
By Jeff Wilson