James Stewart, former general secretary and later chair of the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI), died on January 26 2013.
Jimmy was born into a unionist family in Ballymena on November 23 1934 to Florry and Bob Stewart.
He went to school at the Ballymena Academy. From there he went to Stranmillis teacher training college where he met Edwina Menzies, daughter of Eddie and Sadie. Jimmy and Edwina were married in 1954.
In 1955 he joined the CPI - Edwina was already a member, her parents being founder members.
Jimmy began his teaching career at Hemsworth Square School and later in Somerdale School on the Shankill Road, where he taught history and art.
He later became a full-time worker for the CPI until his retirement. During this time he stood in elections in West Belfast and he was also editor of Unity, the Communist Party newspaper.
As his comrade Joe Bowers said at his funeral, "to leave a teaching job to work for the Communist Party is a measure of commitment which very few party members have.
"The contract of employment was commitment. The hours - available at all times. The wages were low, about one-quarter of a teacher's wage.
"He could not have done it without the support of Edwina and that became more difficult when she was pressurised out of her teaching job because of her profile in the civil rights movement. Partnership in every respect. The party and the labour and national independence movements owe Jimmy and Edwina a debt.
"Jimmy was editor, seller and regular contributor to the party weekly paper Unity for half a century and more. He created a culture and tradition of the paper being at the centre of party life. Communication, information, education, propaganda and polemics.
"Jimmy taught us how to work collectively. Party publications, party education, trade union work, broad movements, community and tenants' organisations - he was involved in all of it.
"How we could unite working people, overcome political, industrial and religious sectarianism and form the broadest opposition for an alternative.
"The clearest example was his contribution to the 1962 Communist Party of Northern Ireland's Programme, Ireland's Path to Socialism.
"The drafting of the programme was begun by Sean Murray, our first general secretary in the late 1950s, but Sean's deteriorating health interfered with that work and Jimmy completed the draft."
Barry Bruton gave a more personal account of Jimmy's life, remembering how he came from the "bible belt" and as a boy was proud to be a "queen's" scout who wore the Scottish with pride.
It was when Jimmy and Edwina went to the World Youth Festival in Moscow in 1957 that he swapped the tartan kilt for an Irish saffron kilt.
James McPeake sang at Jimmy's funeral - some readers may remember that the McPeakes, renowned for their revival of traditional music in Belfast and the song Will Ye Lassie Go, played at a Morning Star rally in Manchester in 1968.
Many comrades in Britain will remember Jimmy. He spoke at countless meetings in the '70s and '80s, mostly organised by the then Communist Party of Great Britain.
At the funeral messages were received from all round the world. Desi Murray, a trade unionist and former CPI member now living in California, remembered "a man of great tolerance, a communist and by all accounts ahead of his time. His work in the Connolly Association in Britain, on the Belfast TUC and with the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement rocked the Establishment - no mean feat."
Tommy Campbell in Aberdeen spoke of Jimmy's "inspiration to me and many others."
Jimmy was an honest, hard-working man who believed that a better world could be made by the people for the people, that the unity of the Irish people must be one that benefits the ordinary person.
In the words of James Connolly, "our demands are most moderate - we only want the Earth."
Jimmy Stewart died aged 78 and is survived by his wife Edwina, daughters Helen and Moya, his sister Margaret, grandchildren and great-grandson Ruadhan.
At his funeral at Roselawn cemetery his comrades lined the driveway holding the red flag of the CPI.
The Internationale was led off by Tom Redmond and Denis Bowers played the last pipe and chorus.
Some of his comrades remarked that he had chosen to leave us on a week to remember, from Rabbie Burns night to the 70th anniversary of victory at the battle of Stalingrad.
Not that we will ever forget you. Salud.
"Sure", he would always say, I'm a man of the party
and I'm rightly ready for one, no fear of that,
but ever the dissident and the man from Dalriada
a Ballymena boy who left culture and class
to climb on new architraves, or a lass
of Belfast, he dropped the rugby ball and artful pencil
to run at politics, a dream so few understood,
but he did, he knew the rankling of injustice
the Irish and the Scots souls entwined
the runes of Bannockburn and the freedom of the mind
the need to fight sometimes for rights
that others hardly know are trammelled,
the crassness of power and the braveness
of clans charging at Culloden cannons
he knew all that and wept for the dead Anons
however much they moaned at him, belligerent git
they might call him, and peace to a grandchild
who caught his drift, the blocked arteries
and the mind a-twist, but the beating heart intent
on the meaning of things, something not so neatly rent
the Struggle, always that, the battle against the Beast,
the capital envelope that wraps the world in money
and fuels the fascism a Dalriada man could hate,
for the goons spoil every party and ruin every rhyme
the chimes at midnight, the running out of time.
- CY Jamison, his brother-in-law
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