WEATHER »
Lowell Steward at his home in Oxnard, CA (June 1, 2007)

Paul Wellman

Lowell Steward at his home in Oxnard, CA (June 1, 2007)


Lowell Steward, 1919-2014


Lowell Steward, a UCSB Hall of Fame athlete and one of the last surviving black World War II pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, died Wednesday, Dec. 17, at a Ventura hospital. He was 95. His son, Lowell Jr., said Steward died of natural causes, “peacefully, with his family around him.”

Steward, a native of Los Angeles, participated in basketball and track and field at Santa Barbara State College (UCSB). He was a star on the 1940-41 Gaucho basketball team that won 20 games and captain of the 1941-42 team. Initially rejected by army recruiters when he tried to sign up after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps after his graduation and was sent to pilot training at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

He served overseas for 15 months and was stationed in Capodecina, Naples, Ramitelli, and Salermo, Italy, where he flew P-39s, P-40s, and P-51 Red Tails. He flew 96 missions out of Naples, and while stationed in Ramitelli, he flew 47 bomber escort and strafing missions with the 15th Air Force. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross.

After discharge from the service, Steward returned to Los Angeles, where he became a real estate broker and appraiser for 40 years. He was a co-founder of the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation which has given away more than $2 million in scholarships to deserving students across the country. He retired in Oxnard.

In 2004, the UCSB Alumni Association honored Steward with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service.

Steward was preceded in death by his Santa Barbara sweetheart and wife of 60 years, Helen Jane Ford. He is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

His memorial service will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22, at the Angelus Funeral Home in his old neighborhood, 3875 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

City College Ranked #1 by Value Colleges

High graduation rate, community service, and online degree programs made SBCC a 'flawless investment.'

News Commentary: Ribbon Cutting Is Not as Easy as It Looks

Grand opening for new Eastside bridge conveys a tingle of progress.

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Endorses Villaraigosa for Governor

Joyce Dudley preferred the former Los Angeles mayor’s positions on crime and education.