The Life of Stuart Crandall Stow
Stuart Crandall Stow Stuart was born on November 22, 1954, in Fort Dix, New Jersey to Kenneth Reeve Stow and Mary Elizabeth Fisher. He had an older brother, Donald Herbert Stow, who was born in 1945 and passed away in 1984 of bone cancer at the age of 39. The Stow family were members of the Episcopal Church. Stuart started his early schooling in New Jersey. Stuart's father served in the United States Air Force, where he would ultimately become a full Colonel. His father was a navigator on the B-24 Liberator Bomber in the South Pacific during World War II; helped plan and execute the Berlin Airlift following the War; oversaw navigator training during the Korean War; served on the Special Operations Staff of General Westmoreland during the Vietnam War; and served for many years on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His father lived a long life, passing away in 2006 at age 96. It was Stuart's father's military career that caused the family to move to Alexandria, Virginia. The Stows home was located on North Overlook Drive in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Alexandria. Stuart first started attending elementary school at the Saint Agnes School in Alexandria, before transferring to Alexandria public schools. Stuart attended Charles Barrett Elementary School, Minnie Howard Middle School, and T.C. Williams High School. He was always proud of his time as a T.C. Williams Titan and loved to remind people that he was there during the events portrayed in the Remember the Titans movie. But before he graduated, his father retired from the Air Force and moved the Stow family back to New Jersey, where his father become the Assistant Vice President of the newly created Stockton College. As a result, Stuart graduated from the Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing, New Jersey. Stuart's Aunt, Margaret "Peggy" Benson Fisher and her husband, Clarence J. Eichel, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on August 31, 1963. Peggy had encouraged Stuart's mother and father and Stuart to take the missionary lessons, which they did. Although Stuart's parents decided not to be baptized, Stuart did join the Church and was baptized on June 11, 1973. Stuart would remain active in the Church the remainder of his life. After high school, Stuart attended Stockton College, where he earned a degree in Mathematics and Physics. Stuart was very good with numbers and he could always remember everyone's telephone number. Shortly before he graduated college, Stuart's mother, Mary Elizabeth, died in 1976 of complications from Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 61. His mother’s passing was very unsettling for Stuart. Stuart had a strained relationship with his father, and following his mother’s death, he felt mostly alone in the world. The following year, in 1977, shortly after earning his degrees, Stuart prepared himself to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was called to serve in the France Paris Mission. Although it was challenging for Stuart, his mission in Paris was one of the highlights of his life. He gained a great love for all things French, including the French language and French food. As many of you know, Stuart did not like to throw things away. He kept letters he sent to his Mission President each week of his mission. Stuart was candid in those letters about some of the challenges he faced. In one, he wrote: “I just finished a box of 150 tissues that I just got 2 days ago. I hope that you did not catch the cold I was getting at Stake Conference. I got plenty of rest and liquids on Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was ‘back on the road again.” In another, he wrote: “I have been simply enduring.” But he ended on an upbeat note, saying “Today, if I accomplish all I have planned, I will be a lot happier and more effective and efficient during this coming week.” One letter he signed simply “an overwhelmed missionary.” But Stuart also knew what lifted him up. In one report he said “Already, I am starting to feel happier, because we are listening to the Tabernacle Choir. I think that if I was able to listen to them during the week I would be a lot happier.” Some months later he said “I just heard a recording of Paul H. Dunn’s talk ‘Catch the Vision.’ It is what I needed to lift me up and get me enthusiastic. I feel a lot better and a lot happier now. General Authorities’ talks are what make me happy.” Throughout his life, including in his final days, Stuart would find great peace and strength in the singing of the Tabernacle Choir and talks from General Conference. In Stuart’s final letter to his Mission President, he bore a simple yet powerful testimony. After noting that his Mission President had always been inspired by the Spirit, Stuart declared: “I know that this is truly the Church of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God on earth, and that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God.” Following his mission, Stuart pursued a career in computer science doing government contracting work, which ultimately brought him back to Alexandria. As a single member of the Church, he attended the Columbia Singles Ward in Annandale, Virginia and then the Colonial Singles Ward in Alexandria. It was at the Colonial Ward where Stuart met Jeanie Margarete Wimmer. Stuart and Jeanie married May 4, 1991 in the Washington DC Temple. They were married for approximately 12 years, divorcing in May 2003. Prior to the divorce, Stuart and Jeanie conceived a baby boy. Since their marriage was ending, Stuart and Jeanie thought it best for their baby to be adopted by an LDS family who could care and protect him and raise him in their faith, which they have done. The divorce was very hard for Stuart. To make matter worse, around this same time, Stuart lost his career and was never fully able to recover it. At times Stuart felt angry and frustrated by his circumstances, and he was very open and honest about it. But Stuart always stayed active in Church and close to his Church family. He never lost his faith or gave up hope. He endured, pressed on, and served others. For many years, Stuart would show up at every move or other service project, and he rarely, if ever, missed attending his Sacrament and Priesthood meetings. Often times, he would attend the meetings of multiple wards on the same Sunday. He loved the Church and being with the saints. Stuart had many callings in the church, but he particularly enjoyed serving in the Washington, D.C. temple, which he did for many years. Stuart was an avid student of the gospel. He didn't have an interest in television or movies. He spent much of his spare time studying the scriptures and reading church publications. Stuart very much enjoyed food and eating meals. He also enjoyed all church events, particularly the ones where meals would be served. He could pack more food into that skinny body that the laws of physics should allow. And what he couldn’t fit in his stomach, he would pack into plastic bags for later. He always carried plastic bags with him. Nothing ever went to waste. Especially anything involving coconut cream pie, bread pudding, tapioca pudding, rice pudding, banana pudding, stuffing, egg salad, milk, ice cream (preferably coconut), or pastries. Just don’t feed him any chocolate. When Stuart was told that his illness had come to the point where he would not be able to return to his full health, he decided that he would move into The Fountains at Washington House in Alexandria, where he received care until his death on August 15, 2019. Stuart’s body will be interred in the Ivy Hill Cemetery which is located across the street from his church in Alexandria.