If the gentlemen who had the honor of roasting Nestor Stewart on Thursday night are to be believed, Stewart is very thrifty and is the largest drug dealer in town. On the other hand, he was also lauded as being very compassionate, humble and Christian-like.
A screen behind the podium showed Stewart’s uncanny resemblance to his celebrity look-alike, Mr. Frederickson, from the animated movie “Up.”
Central Church of Christ minister Ben Bailey said of Stewart, a Central elder, “Besides the occasional phone call from Nestor making sure we don’t have too many lights on at the church, working with him has been a joy.”
Jimmy Priestley said Stewart’s incredible work ethic started as a young man working in Detroit in the automotive industry. “He worked in the automotive industry and at other jobs often working 16 hours a day ... now you know where that got started,” said Priestley.
Priestley said he has enjoyed eating breakfast with Stewart for 36 years. “I’ve spent more time, twice as much with him at breakfast, as I have my own father. Indeed, he has been like a father to me over the years.”
Richard E. Myers said, “I really got to know Nestor when I started attending the Stewart-Priestley breakfast club. I have been eating breakfast with them for eight or nine years now. Nestor goes in and he counts the salt shakers to see how many are missing. He inventories donuts to see how many he sold the day before. It is true, Nestor is very conservative.”
Myers ended his speech by saying, “Nestor Stewart has genuine concern for his fellow man and he treats everyone the way he would like to be treated. He has been a mentor for me. I appreciate the example he has set as a father, friend, Christian and elder of the church. We should all thank God we have men like Nestor Stewart who are humble, compassionate, honest in knowledge and wisdom and a vision that are willing to serve God, family and their community.”
Charles Bogle joked about Stewart’s profession saying, “Nestor prides himself in giving great service at his pharmacy. An example of this is when a lady came in and said, ‘Mr. Stewart, I’m really having a lot of problems with my knees. I just can’t get them to working right.’ So, Nestor went behind the counter and came back out with a bottle. He said to the lady, ‘Go home. And, tonight, before you go to bed, take a tablespoon full. Before you eat breakfast, take a tablespoon full. Just repeat this each day.’ About three days later she goes back to the pharmacy to see Nestor. She said, ‘About that medicine you gave me to make my knees work ... I run to the bathroom all the time, up and down, to the bathroom. And, by the way, that medicine tastes a lot like Black Draught.’ Nestor said in his best pharmacy voice, ‘Well, sounds like you got your knees working.’”
Bogle served from 1973-79 on the McMinnville City Board with Stewart and the two have served together as elders at Central Church of Christ for over 30 years.
Bogle talked about Stewart’s vision for the city and the good ideas he had for McMinnville back in the ’70s. He said Stewart pushed for a 3 million gallon water tank which still supplies the city with water today. He also said the Civic Center was built, North Chancery Street was widened to five lanes, and the Blue Building was renovated during Stewart’s tenure on the board.
Dr. Ray Troop lauded Stewart as being ahead of his time.
“He has always been ahead of his time. He sells groceries, household products, veterinary products ... which I have used personally, they help, gifts, most anything. He is full-service. He was ahead of Sam Walton and Walmart. I’ve never known anyone who has a better work ethic than him,” said Troop.
“He was ahead of Dr. Oz. He fed me grilled honeybuns, sausage, eggs, donuts, all health food. Now he sells me blood pressure pills and cholesterol medicine.”
Troop ended his roast of Stewart by saying, “Laughter is the best medicine that you can take. But, if you find yourself laughing without a reason, you probably need some medicine. And, Nestor will sell it to you.”
Stewart’s son-in-law, Barry Stowe, prepared a video message while in Hong Kong. He entertained the crowd comparing Nestor Stewart with other people throughout history called Nestor.
“It does occur to me and I suspect it has occurred to you as well that Nestor is an unusual name. It sort of makes you wonder why Nestor didn’t want to be called something a little more common, perhaps by his middle name. But, those of you who know him, know that Nestor is his middle name. He chose Nestor over his first name which is Himey. Himey Nestor. So, in that context, I guess Nestor makes perfect sense,” said Stowe.
Stowe said two Nestors were animated characters. One is a penguin in the animated film “Happy Feet.”
“I learned this character called Nestor is a singing and a dancing penguin. I think we all know that Nestor has not had a lot of practice dancing. And, anyone who has sat within 10 rows of him at church knows Nestor does make noise during the hymns but it can hardly be called singing,” Stowe said.
Stewart received a standing ovation when it was time for his response. “I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this. I really don’t. I just worked and have been successful. It’s the community that supported me. I appreciate it. There are some in here who I would hesitate to ask to come up to this microphone. Nevertheless, I’m humbly grateful for this occasion. I don’t feel that I deserve it at all.”
“I’ve always tried to keep my feet on humble dirt. I hope to keep it that way. I want to continue to serve as long as I can. How much longer these legs will continue to carry me, I don’t know. I’m grateful for everyone being so good to me. We’ve got to exercise wisdom and judgment. And, just because someone else is doing something, that doesn’t mean we have to do it,” said Stewart.
WCPI radio personality Bill Zechman served as master of ceremonies introducing each speaker. Zechman ended the night by saying, “Brother Nestor, we respect you, we appreciate you, but above all, we love you, Jo and your whole family.
Stewart made his way back to the podium and said he wanted to explain how he received his name. He said his father worked in a factory in Ohio after World War I for a superintendent who was the nicest man he had met and if he ever had a son he would name him after that kind man who was named Nestor.
Boyd chairman of the board Brett Merritt and Boyd principal Tabetha Sullens presented Stewart with an orange and blue Boyd Broncos necktie.
Bailey auctioned off seven identical neckties to attendees netting an extra $875 for the school. Proceeds from ticket sales and the auction will benefit Boyd Christian School.