April 20, 2007 Volume 108 Number 8

Heart attack claims Laborers Local 296 business manager

L.R. “Little Richard” Steward, business manager/secretary-treasurer of Portland Laborers Local 296, died at his home on April 4. Cause of death was a heart attack. He was 58.

Steward was a 27-year member of the union, having worked in the Portland shipyards. He started as a laborer and worked his way to leadman and superintendent.

He was appointed business representative of Local 296 in 1992 and was named business manager in 1994, succeeding Jack Watterson.

Steward was active in the community and the labor movement as a whole. He served as a delegate or officer to the Pacific Coast Metal Trades Council and the Columbia-Pacific Building Trades Council. He was on the board of directors of Labor’s Community Service Agency and was involved with the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good.

L.R. Steward was born on July 14, 1948, in Malden, Missouri. He was raised on a farm and spent many hours fixing things around the house.

He graduated from Lilbourn East High School in Lilbourn, Missouri.

He traveled and worked in several states, including Florida and California, before landing in Oregon.

In the ’70s he owned and operated a barbeque restaurant called “Pig on the Pit.” He also owned several car lots. He enjoyed restoring cars and riding his motorcycle — but only on Sundays.

Steward was an avid softball player and boxer, although he never disclosed his record.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Everrie and Edithe Steward, and two sisters.

Steward is survived by nine children; five step-children; two adopted children; 21 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; two sisters; a brother and a host of nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held April 17 at Highland Community Christian Center.

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