Roy R. Stewart

Roy R Stewart - 1928-04-04

Roy R. Stewart was born in Quakake, PA, a small mining town, in 1887. During his youth, he worked as a breaker boy in the mines. After completing business college, he relocated to Camden in 1909 and secured employment at Hurley’s Department Store located at Broadway and Spruce Street. In 1912, he established his own men’s wear store, R.R. Stewart, at 609 Broadway. By 1914, Roy Stewart resided and conducted business at 201-203 Broadway, on the corner of Broadway and Mickle Street, which was later occupied by Broadway Eddie’s. During the summer of 1926, he also operated a second store in Ocean City, NJ. His business was situated near the Grand Theater, one of Camden’s numerous movie theaters. In the early 1940s, Roy Stewart relocated his business to 142 North Broadway in the Wilson Building.

In 1928, Roy Stewart served as the Exalted Ruler of Camden Lodge 293 of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He also displayed an interest in politics and served in the New Jersey State Assembly from 1925 to 1929. In November 1929, he was elected as State Senator to succeed the late Joseph H. Forsyth, and he served until 1932. While in the State Senate, he was elected Mayor of Camden, succeeding Winfield Scott Price. He held the position of mayor until 1935, when he was succeeded by Frederick von Nieda.

Roy Stewart played a crucial role in advocating for the construction of a high-speed line across the Ben Franklin Bridge between Camden and Philadelphia. His efforts resulted in the establishment of the line and the construction of two subway stops in Camden. He also envisioned extending the line into South Jersey, which became a reality with the construction of the PATCO High-Speed Line in 1969. During his tenure as the director of public safety in Camden, he oversaw the implementation of radios in police cars.

In December 1932, Mayor Stewart appointed John H. Lennox as the acting chief of the Camden Fire Department, replacing Thomas J. Nicholas. Lennox assumed the permanent position of Chief on October 1, 1934.

Mayor Stewart prioritized addressing the housing needs of the city. In August 1933, he chaired a meeting that led to the construction of Westfield Acres, Camden’s inaugural public housing project, and the establishment of the Housing Authority of the City of Camden.

In addition to his men’s wear business, Roy Stewart served as the president of the Republic Building and Loan Association. He was also the president of the Locustwood Cemetery Association, which currently operates the cemetery in present-day Cherry Hill, NJ. He actively participated in various fraternal and civic organizations in Camden, including being installed as the Exalted Ruler of Camden Lodge 293 of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks on April 4, 1928. He was a member of Trimble Lodge No. 117, F. & A.M., and the Camden Rotary Club.

After concluding his mayoral term, Roy Stewart returned to his clothing business and later moved to a residence at 221 Browning Road in Merchantville, NJ. He passed away on February 29, 1949, at Osteopathic Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

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