Larry Stewart

Larry Stewart

The late Larry Stewart had a radio presence people took to heart.

Though he's been gone from the Champaign-Urbana community for nearly 30 years, Larry Stewart remained a familiar name to many who remembered him as the longtime radio voice of the Fighting Illini and as a community fixture at WDWS radio.

So the report of his death this week in California at age 87 was big news.

Stewart was a major character in this community for much of the time he spent here. Arriving in 1940, he remained here for nearly 40 years, with the exception of three years spent in the military during World War II.

He ran the radio station, called UI football and basketball games and was a major on-air presence, most prominently as the host of "Penny for Your Thoughts." He saw a lot of people come and go through WDWS, some of whom who went on to other prominent broadcasting roles.

When Stewart decided to hang up his microphone in 1981 for retirement in Florida, it was a shock to many and major change to all who'd come to rely on his steady presence. But Stewart was a man with other interests besides broadcasting, and he apparently decided to pursue them while he had the energy.

He was an avid sportsman as well as sports fan and an enthusiastic bridge player with an acerbic sense of humor. Stewart had a million friends and acquaintances. He lived a full life and made his mark on the life of Champaign-Urbana.

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