Champion of the Month

Xen Stewart Share

Feb 1, 2017  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

Xen Stew­art was born in Weaver, Indi­ana in 1930. His fam­i­ly moved to Mar­i­on in 1934 and resided on S. Har­mon St., one block away from where he lives now. Upon grad­u­at­ing from Mar­i­on High School in 1948, he joined the mil­i­tary. Stew­art served until 1949, then joined the Reserves and moved to Chica­go. Xen was study­ing to be an auto mechan­ic, but took on a job in meat pro­cess­ing. It was dur­ing this time in 1951 that he got called to serve in the Kore­an War. Upon his return from sev­er­al months of deploy­ment, Stew­art got a job work­ing for Ana­con­da Wire & Cable Co. where he served 14 ½ years, then became employed with the U.S. Postal Ser­vice where he served a devot­ed 32 years. 

Stew­art says he was called to serve oth­ers and help peo­ple. Aside from his mil­i­tary ser­vice, Stew­art helped peo­ple by clean­ing up his neigh­bor­hood in Mar­i­on. He pur­chased blight­ed prop­er­ties and had them demol­ished. He now owns sev­er­al hous­es in his neigh­bor­hood, takes good care of them, and rents them out. 

Xen believes that peo­ple should take more pride in their prop­er­ties. If they did, we wouldn’t have as many prob­lems as we have now with run-down prop­er­ties. If I wouldn’t want to live in it, why would I want to charge rent for oth­ers to live in it?”

Stew­art served on Marion’s Board of Pub­lic Works and Safe­ty, and then the Mar­i­on Rede­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion which aims to find ways to elim­i­nate blight in the community.

Stew­art has also been active in his church, Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal, since 1951. He was a big part of their bi-annu­al fundrais­er where they served ribs and oth­er home­made food to the com­mu­ni­ty through a pro­gram called Bethel Barbeque.” 

Xen says that young peo­ple need to get more involved in their com­mu­ni­ty, but it all starts with the par­ents. He stress­es that par­ents need to com­mu­ni­cate the val­ues of being involved and also set a good exam­ple for their chil­dren. They must be self-moti­vat­ed. It has to come from with­in. No one can make you do it.”

Stew­art comes from a fam­i­ly of ten. He says near­ly half of his sib­lings stayed in Mar­i­on. They liked Mar­i­on. And to me, it is a nice place to live. Of course, we have our prob­lems too, but I’d rather be here than in a big city.”

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