“Woody” Stewart, a brilliant attorney and cornerstone of the regional law firm of Stewart, Melvin & Frost, passed away on January 9, 2012.
He left a far-reaching legacy with his firm and clients, while inspiring a culture of philanthropy that will be felt for generations throughout the North Georgia region.
In 1966, Mr. Stewart joined the law firm in Gainesville that would eventually bear his name as managing partner. His leadership helped grow Stewart, Melvin & Frost into one of today’s largest law firms in the region. All the while, Mr. Stewart built a reputation for his expertise in tax and estate planning that drew respect throughout the state.
Mr. Stewart served in a wide span of high-profile community leadership roles that ranged from chairman of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and the Gainesville City Schools Board of Education to president of the Gainesville Kiwanis Club, chairman of the former Lanier Park Hospital, and a member of the Northeast Georgia Health System Board, including its strategic planning, audit, and finance committees.
Perhaps his greatest contribution is one that will long enhance the health and lives of literally hundreds of thousands of North Georgia residents through his work with The Medical Center Foundation. Under Mr. Stewart’s leadership, the Foundation raised over $34 million on behalf of Northeast Georgia Medical Center – an uncommon benchmark for a non-teaching hospital.
Mr. Stewart’s passion and vision inspired a spirit and culture of philanthropy that – coupled with his contributions to the legal and business communities – will be felt well beyond his lifetime for generations of Northeast Georgians. He will be missed but never forgotten.