The T&T track and field fraternity has been plunged into mourning with news that former Olympian and national middle-distance champion Lennox Stewart has passed away.
Stewart who was born in 1949 and spent most of his life in San Fernando, was widely admired in this country.
He was an avid runner and proudly represented T&T in the 800 metres at the 1971 Pan American Games finishing fourth and at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany where he produced a time of 1:48.74 ranking fifth in his heat.
Throughout his competitive track and field career, he had many other accomplishments. One of his major accomplishments from Stewart's perspective was his beating of the United States premier distance runner Marty Liquori at the Melrose Games in the USA.
'Stewarty' as he was fondly called never forget that race but he spoke about it on many occasions with his close friends like Hasely Crawford, the 1976 Olympic Games 100 metres gold medallist, Winston "Fox" Emmanuel, and Charlie Joseph two other T&T international sprinters.
For Stewart, Education was also top on his agenda and at Brevard College in North Carolina, USA where he earned an AA in Education and went on to further pursue his BA in Education from the University of North Carolina, where he graduated in 1973.
His former student of Chaguanas Senior Comprehensive and friend Hayes Jones spoke of his teacher and coach in glowing terms, he stated, "Lennox Stewart was a special kind of man. He was a man who you could you could depend upon to do what was best for his students, his children, his friends, and his community.
"He was a fair and honest man, a man of integrity. Lennox was a mentor to everyone and when he gave you advice, it always worked. I know because I was a former athlete under him. I have seen him change many a person from negativity to positivity. That was the power of the man."
Jones continued," I remember when Stewart returned home from the University of North Carolina (UNC) where he has been enshrined in the Hall of Fame, he did something that made me and many of his friends stand and up and take notice.
He hosted a 'Thank You Lunch' one Sunday for the deceased former national coach Hubert Francis, who was instrumental in his receiving a scholarship from UNC. What he said to Hubert Francis then would never be forgotten, 'He stated, "I want to tell you thanks because many people will not tell you thanks but I will. That was the kind of human being 'Stewarty' was, loving, caring, kind but most importantly grateful.
"Looking back, at my time at Chaguanas Senior Comprehensive, you could never forget his labour of love and commitment to his student and school. When we were leaving to go and compete at the Secondary Schools Track and Field Championship and the bus was filled, you will see his Blue Pick-up appear and all the other students will get aboard and go to the championships. If any of the athletes were hungry, he would buy food and drinks for all, that was the measure of the man. He was a man of principle, he was indeed a great man."
It has been stated up to a decade ago he would still be getting gear from his old sponsor Adidas.
In ending Jones said, "He never forgot where he came from and knew gratitude comes from where it is expected. He beat cancer and he beat Covid-19, but the selfless man has gone home to meet his maker."
His wife Liz has stated that his funeral will be on June 30 but before that, there will be virtual wakes and a Memorial Service on June 29.
Lennox leaves to mourn his wife and his three sons Josh, Jesse, and Sean.
His son Jesse was a former national footballer and is now a top Soca artiste with the sobriquet "College Boy Jesse". He won the Groovy Soca Monarch with his hit "Happy Song" in 2020.
May Lennox Stewart rest in eternal peace.