Leslie Terrell Stewart III, age 74, departed life on August 15, 2023, surrounded by his loving wife, Arlene Frances Stewart and daughter, Leslie Stewart Oduwole. Leslie was born on May 15, 1949, in Austin, Texas to Leslie T. Stewart II and Lily Pearl Wells. Leslie professed his faith and became a Christian at Metropolitan AME Church at a young age.
Leslie grew up in Austin, Texas, where he attended Blackshear Elementary, Kealing Junior High and graduated from Old Anderson High School in 1969. After being accepted and enrolling in St. Edward University, Austin, Texas, Leslie pursued a degree in Theatre Arts as an actor and singer.
Leslie’s time at St. Edward’s University was interrupted due to being drafted to serve in the United States Army. Leslie served in the Army from 1969 through 1975, as a Green Beret 82 Airborne Paratrooper. While serving in the U.S. Army, he participated in the Golden Gloves before being deployed in the Vietnam War. After serving and being honorably discharged Leslie was welcomed home to Austin. Where he pursued different careers including following his love and passion, singing professionally. He sang in a band with his brothers “The Immortal Stewart’s,” who auditioned and were selected to perform on “The Gong Show.” Leslie enjoyed acting, plays and mines. Leslie worked for the Texas Department of Health, Women Infant and Children (WIC) Department in Austin, Texas and for the Harlem Cab Company as a dispatcher and taxi cab driver.
In 1980, Leslie, AKA “Terry” met his future wife Arlene Frances Simms at Rosewood Tennis Courts. On July 21, 1982, Leslie and Arlene married. Within this union, on December 26, 1982, Leslie and Arlene became parents to a beautiful, precious baby girl, Leslie Arlene Stewart. In 1985, the family moved to Corpus Christi, Texas to care for Arlene’s grandparents.
After relocating, Leslie was employed at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station Commissary as a butcher and part time mediator with Human Resources. Leslie would remain a loyal and dedicated employee of the Navy Commissary until 1998. Leslie also sang Blues with a band called Mainstream. Upon returning to Austin, Leslie worked for the Texas Lottery Commission, before he found his passion in the educational field. Following his passion in education, starting in 2005, he worked for the Austin Independent School District, Travis High School, as a security officer, then was promoted to teacher associate and mentor to students in need. While working at Anderson High School, Leslie would continue his servantship and mentorship of singing with the gospel quartet, “The Bells of Joy.” Through his soulful voice with The Bells of Joy, Leslie was able to let his light shine and bring people to God through many avenues. The Bells of Joy sang at various church anniversaries, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, Guene Hall, Rudy’s, Stubbs, Threadgills, and Willie Nelson’s annual fourth of July picnic. You would know his soulful voice when he would sing “Talk about Jesus,” “Sinner Man,” and many other Gospel songs. While employed with Austin ISD, Leslie sang with the school orchestra and with a group of teachers called “The Board of Education.” They performed at the Teacher Retirement Reception, school-wide fundraisers, different school events and birthday parties.
Leslie was very driven and loved to run. He participated in the Capital 10K mini marathon. During his golden years, he began walking, lifting weights, riding his incumbent bike and punching his boxing bag in the garage. He also enjoyed his neighbor’s fellowship.
Terry was a loving husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, nephew and friend. He will be dearly missed.
Leslie is preceded in death by his father, Leslie T. Stewart II and his mother, Lily Pearl Stewart, stepmother, Barbara Jean Stewart, sisters, Addie Stewart, Debra Hancock and brother, Darrell Stewart of Austin, Texas.
Left to cherish his memories are his wife of 41 years, Arlene, daughter, Leslie (Jonathon Chase) Oduwole, two grandchildren, Makyah and Elijah Oduwole, sister, Patricia Akinson, of Austin Texas, brothers, Ronald (Denise) Stewart, of Austin, Texas, Donald (Gwen) Stewart, of Austin, Texas, Joseph (Barbara) Stewart, of Manor, Texas, Michael (Mia) Stewart, Sr., of Houston, Texas, Mark (Marie) Stewart, of Houston, Texas, Tracy (Sue) Stewart, of Georgetown, Texas and a host of relatives and friends.
Having the distinguished honor to serve as pallbearers are Jonathon Oduwole, Morgan Blair, Patrick Alonzo, Kenny Smith, Juan De Jesus, La’Terrence Moses. Honorary pallbearers are Ronald Stewart, Donald Stewart, Joseph Stewart, Michael Stewart, Mark Stewart, Tracy Stewart, Benjamin Simms, Joe Davis and Mike Sullivan.