Tuesday and Thursday mornings will never be the same around the Library & Archives as we have lost one of our most friendly, valuable and knowledgeable volunteers… Dennis Stewart. Dennis sadly passed away on January 16, 2014. His memorial service will be held at Fort Rosecrans on Thursday, February 13th at 11:00 am.
Dennis had volunteered at the Museum since 1997, first as a docent, and then in the Library & Archives. His skills have been invaluable in the preservation of the Museum’s Film collection. This collection contains films, negatives, and other digital media that spans the entire history of aviation. He helped process, number, and catalog the collection.
Dennis was often seen watching films on the Library’s film projector with pencil and paper in hand taking notes to add to the catalog. His knowledge of the film collection was expansive and he was always available to assist researchers and volunteers with questions relating to the collection. Over 600 films from our collection are now available on YouTube, thanks to Dennis. It should be noted that Dennis was also quite knowledgeable of the history of “Hollywood” motion pictures, attending the annual Turner Classic Film event in Los Angeles.
Dennis was born August 18, 1933, raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell. After two years of study at Compton Junior College, he enlisted in the USAF as an aviation cadet. Trained in the T-6 Texan and B-25 Mitchell in flight school, Lt. Stewart was assigned to Military Air Transport Command as a C-124 Globemaster pilot. He flew cargo all over the Pacific. After completing his Air Force service, Dennis completed college, earning a B.A. in History from San Francisco State University. In 1960, he joined the Federal Aviation Agency as an Air Traffic Controller in Los Angeles. In 1962, Dennis transferred to the Anchorage office, and in 1964 transitioned into personnel management. Dennis transferred from the FAA to the Department of the Navy in 1967, retiring from his Federal Service career in San Diego. Dennis is a licensed commercial pilot and has over 2,000 flight hours in his log book. At the age of 60, Dennis flew around the world with Robert Weiss in an A-36 Beechcraft Bonanza. His story is told in the book, Bonanza Around the World, published by Wind Canyon Publishing, Inc. in 1998.