De was best known for founding his company, Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices and acting as the company's brand ambassador and symbol. Colonel De has three locations, including his corporate headquarters in the Hiland Building in Fort Thomas.
His name and image are symbols of the company.
“We have suffered a major loss. Our family, friends and customers will have a huge void because De was larger-than-life,” said his wife and business partner, Susan. "His joy was spending time with his son, Ashley, daughter-in-law Christi and beloved grandchildren."
Stewart was all about family. He and Susan also spent many countless hours on their patio drinking bourbon with their rescue dog, Cinnamon.
"We've done this together from the beginning," Susan told Fort Thomas Matters in February.
They set up their first spice store, a card table at Findlay Market, in 2006.
"I asked him what his dream was and he said he wanted to open a store that sold herbs and spices. As soon as I heard that, I asked him what his second choice was," she said jokingly.
"But six months after setting up that card table in 2006, we needed more space."
The "Businessman Chef", Stewart had built an empire. A Fort Thomas resident, he fully invested a large chunk of his capital into the Fort Thomas Central Business District by renting a majority of the space in the Historic Hiland Building, located at 18 N. Fort Thomas Avenue.
“Small businesses hire the most people in this country, and we deserve more than the short stick that we’re given by the banks,” he told Fort Thomas Matters in February 2018.
Among the many full-time employees in the Colonel De family are are seven chefs with a cumulative 250 years of experience.
“We have done every business expansion by bootstrap,” he said.
A family man and a community stalwart, Colonel De Stewart will be missed.
Stewart was famous for characterizing the relationship between he and his customers.
“The relationship we have with our customer is the second most intimate relationship you can have. I’m not going into their bedroom, but I’m going into their kitchen. I am helping to feed their family."
It's clear the mark he has made is an indelible one.
Colonel’s wife Susan, his son Ashley and daughter-n-law Christi are committed to continuing the legacy of the Colonel and the Colonel brands.
A memorial service is planned for Stewart next week, details forthcoming.