Stewart Alexander dedicated life to law and family
For 56 years, Stewart Alexander practiced civil and criminal law, appearing in state and federal courts on behalf of countless individuals and companies in a long and influential career.
Retired but still a dedicated family man, Alexander was surrounded by loved ones when he died Feb. 20 at 79.
He had a solo practice and handled a number of important cases, arguing some of them before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to his daughter, Brenda Schram.
Alexander became known for his virtuous approach to practicing law, earning the respect of his peers and clients alike.
“To all the lawyer friends I spoke to, he was sort of an inspiration of how he practiced law. My father was someone who treated you with respect and without judgment, and he worked as hard for you whether he was charging for his services or not,” Schram said.
Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg of Rodfei Sholom, speaking at his funeral, said he reached out to Alexander for legal counsel for several of his congregants and got a generous response, said Sheryl Kulick Jalnos, a congregant who was in attendance. He also was active in Congregation Agudas Achim.
Alexander provided a great deal of pro bono services and advice for individuals in his community and assisted Jewish immigrants via Jewish Family Services.
He used his career as a means to give back, both in providing services and supporting the work of the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation and Jewish Family Services. He also had a hand in helping found a Jewish day school in 1972, and it stayed open for more than 40 years, Schram said.
Prior to entering the field of law, Alexander attended St. Mary’s University, where he received his bachelor’s in business administration and later his doctorate in jurisprudence in 1962. He married his high school sweetheart, Shirley, that same year.
After graduation, Alexander spent the next two years serving as a judge advocate general, or prosecutor, in the Army. He and Shirley settled down in San Antonio, where he began his private law practice and the two started their family. They had daughter Brenda and a son, David.
Over the years, the family took lengthy road trips.
“He enjoyed traveling because he was interested in the history, nature and geography of our country,” Schram said in a written tribute.
“My dad may not have been familiar with five-star restaurants around the country, but he did know the best overlooks, the best places to watch the sunset, where to ride water rapids in a beautiful river and some awesome clear skies to look at the stars.”
Eventually, these getaways would include his children’s spouses and, soon after, grandchildren, as Schram’s husband, Tony, and their two daughters, Melissa and Elizabeth, would go along for the rides.
When Alexander wasn’t working on a big court case or taking the family on a meticulously mapped-out vacation, he was staying physically active, primarily through running. He began to take running more seriously in his late 30s, participating in long-distance events.
Alexander completed 23 marathons in cities across the country, including Las Vegas, New York and Anchorage, Alaska. He ran his last marathon nine years ago at age 70.
Alexander appreciated the physical benefits of his runs, but the social aspect also fulfilled him.
“He was involved with the San Antonio RoadRunners for a while, then he expanded his runs to his travels so he’d run wherever he went,” Schram said. “He was a big storyteller, so he ran talking the entire time.”
Schram spoke highly of her father’s social skills, attributing them to his giving personality and his sense of humor.
“When I got married in 1988, my dad, an exhausted father of the bride, took some of the extra flowers we had from the wedding and brought them to a hospital to hand out to patients. He was a really giving person. Even when he was focused on the family, he was thinking of ways to spread the joy and the beauty.”
Polly Anna Rocha is a features writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her stories on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org