Sidney Jack Stem

July 10, 1923February 25, 2018
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Sidney Jack Stem was born July 10, 1923, in Waco, to Det. Capt. Wiley W. Stem and Ada Rowe Stem. He attended Waco schools and graduated in 1941. That fall he attended Baylor University on an scholarship for swimming. He joined the College Reserve Corps and was called to active duty in the US Army during WW 2. He was stationed on the islands of Saipan and Tinian in the South Pacific. He was awarded the Purple Heart, South Pacific Victory Medal, Marianas Islands Campaign Medal, Infantry Field Badge, and many others. He returned in 1945, and re-enrolled in Baylor, lettering in swimming. In 1947 he received his B.S. Ed degree and his Masters in Education in 1948. At Baylor, he met Virginia Johnson and they married in 1947. He accepted a teaching/coaching job in Ben Hur for one year until accepting the job of Dir. of Volunteer Services at the new VA Hospital in Marlin in 1951. He retired from the VA in 1989 after 38 years of service. Jack declined numerous promotions within the VA to stay in Marlin the rest of his life. Marlin always held a special place in his heart. Jack and Virginia had Wiley Montgomery (Monty) in 1951 and Laura Lee in 1965. Jack visited every state in the US, as well as many countries in Europe. Jack was a member of the Marlin First Baptist for over 70 years, and served as Deacon, Jr. Boys Sunday School teacher, Chairman of the Deacons, Pulpit Committee member, among other positions. He spent many summers as a sponsor at Latham Springs church camp, as well as with Bible Memory Association and Scripture Memory Fellowship. He was a member of the Lions Club and Masonic Lodge. He was Pres. of the Falls County Red Cross, Pres. of the Lion’s Club, Pres. of the Tomlinson Hill Veterans/Old Settler’s Assoc. He served on the Board of Directors of organizations such as the Marlin Main Street Project, Marlin Civic Center, Men’s Golf Association, Samaritan House, Waco-Marlin Credit Union, and Scripture Memory Fellowship. He was awarded the William M. Parrish/Hazel Falconer Goddard Service Award as Outstanding Citizen from the Marlin Chamber Commerce. He was also a proud supporter of the Falls County Youth Fair. He taught Red Cross Swimming lessons to countless children and adults. He was a Boy Scout leader for 35 years, helping many young men attain the honor of Eagle Scout Award, including his son, Monty. He received the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award given by the Boy Scouts. The highlight of his career as a Boy Scout leader was taking 25 scouts to the Natl Jamboree in Valley Forge. They attended the World’s Fair in NY City and a NY Yankees baseball game, where they saw Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris play. Another year he took his troop for two weeks hiking and camping in the mountains of Camp Philmont, NM, where they encountered rain, snow, and bears. Every summer he took his Troop 557 to Camp Tahuaya, near Belton. Two years after Virginia’s death in 1990, he married Jo Childs, and they recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. He always enjoyed saying, "Jo was the only lady he wanted to date and certainly the only one he wanted to marry." He felt one of the best things about their marriage was how the two families blended so well. Jack and Jo continued to serve the Marlin community until he moved to the William R. Courtney State Veteran’s Home in Temple. Jack was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing, and golf. He had a lifelong love for the Baylor Bears. He enjoyed bridge, duplicate, and dominoes. Jack is survived by his wife, Jo Childs Stem, daughter Laura Lee Stem Pirtle and husband Glen, and Jo’s children, Sandy Tusa and husband Frank, Mark Childs and wife Dru, Brian Childs and wife Ferrisa, grandchildren Wendy Stem Gaspard, Matthew Stem, Jennilee Pirtle, Victoria Pirtle, Sydney Pirtle, Jacob Tusa, Jared Tusa, Amy Metcalf, Colton Childs, Chandler Childs, Brianna Childs, eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Jack is preceded in death by wife Virginia Stem and son, Monty, his parents, brothers, and sister. Funeral service is 12:00 noon on Friday, March 2, at First Baptist Marlin. Graveside service will follow at Waco Memorial Cemetery in Waco. Visitation is Thursday, March 1, from 6-8 pm at Adams Funeral Home in Marlin. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials sent to Scripture Memory Fellowship (PO Box 550232, Dallas, TX 75355), First Baptist Church (309 Coleman, Marlin, TX 76661), or South Tx Children’s Home Ministries (P.O. Box 759, Beeville, TX 78104.)


  • Visitation Thursday, March 1, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, March 2, 2018

Sidney Jack Stem

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Mark Minor

March 2, 2018

Stem and Childs family please accept my condolences in your loss of Jack. I have so many memories of Jack - mostly having to do with Boy Scouts and my years of scouting with Jack as our Scoutmaster. He had a very positive influence on my life and I am grateful he invested in me and spent his time and talent teaching me about the outdoors. From learning the Morse code to tying square knots Jack was always so patient and caring. We also had church services after our Saturday night camp outs and I truly respect Jack for that because it showed me and all the other young men the importance he placed on faith. I also had the opportunity to hunt with Jack on occasion and it was always very "lively" and a lot of fun. I am a better person for having known Jack Stem. God Bless you all.

Chad Ritter

March 1, 2018

Mr Stem taught my Dad’s (H.W.) Sunday School class at FBC Marlin when Dad was a boy in the 1950’s, and then he taught me there in the early 1990’s.

Although I hadn’t seen Mr Stem in almost 20 years his character and the influence he had on me and my father are vivid memories. I remember him being the man that my rambunctious friends and I would always stand up straight and be on our best behavior around naturally, without him asking, because of the immense respect we had for him and because we so valued his opinion of us.

The world needs more men like that. God bless you, Mr Stem, and peace and comfort to the family.

Mitchell Wren

February 28, 2018

In my youth I couldn't fully understand the investment and commitment Jack made in me personally. As a kid it seemed only natural for an adult to spend countless hours planning and leading weekly scout meetings, organizing weekend camp-outs, and making the annual trek to Camp Tahuaya each summer for a week's worth of camping. In my mind if it was fun for us scouts, it had to be equally as fun for the adult who led us.

Adulthood helped me more fully understand the depth of Jack's conviction and beliefs in the value of scouting. Here was a man whose son had long graduated and moved into manhood. Yet Jack continued with his commitment to molding boys into better men.

There was an eternal kid in Jack. He was fun and made scouting fun. His shenanigans and sense of humor made camp-outs and Tahuaya fun and memorable for each of us. Yet each of us knew of the importance he placed on God & Country. Anytime we had a Saturday night camp-out we had a Sunday morning church service. Jack took an interest in our troop collectively and in each of us individually. I am a better person today because of the influence of Jack Stem.

Jack was always Jack. He was approachable and always made time. He enhanced my sense of self-worth through his compassion and caring nature. I think back on my scouting memories and Jack is always front and center. I laugh at many of the things Jack instigated. There are so many happy, feel-good memories. I feel so incredibly fortunate that I had Jack Stem as my scout master. His influence continues in my life to this day.

Hospice Compassus

February 27, 2018

My condolences to you and your family. May you find peace and comfort. Compassus is here to give you additional support, please don't hesitate to reach out to me anytime.


Misti Wortham RN
Director of Clinical Services

Connie Koenig

February 26, 2018

Dear Stem family ~ Our thoughts and prayers are with each and one of you during this time of loss.
Melvin & Connie Koenig


Jack as a little boy


Jack Stem doing what he does best, fishing at the Marlin CC 2007