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Mahala Louise Stewart, 99, elementary school teacher

July 3, 1916 – Dec. 29, 2015

Mahala Louise Stewart, a longtime elementary teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools, died Tuesday in Elderwood Health Care at Wedgewood, Amherst. She was 99.

The former Mahala Louise Parker was born in Shorter, Ala., graduated from high school in Selma, Ala., and earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Selma University. She also lived in Atlanta and moved to Buffalo in 1945.

During the early 1950s, Mrs. Stewart was a school crossing guard – among the first group of crossing guards hired by the City of Buffalo. She was stationed at Emslie and Peckham streets, making sure hundreds of children made it safely across the street en route to classes at School 31. It was as a crossing guard that she decided to further her education, eventually earning a master’s degree in education from Buffalo State College, with a specialty in teaching the mentally challenged.

In 1960, she began her career with Buffalo Public Schools, teaching at schools 41, 6, 82 and 74 – the latter, from where she retired in 1982. She was member of Buffalo Retired Teachers, New York State Retired Teachers, National Education Association and the NAACP. Mrs. Stewart also was a member of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women, Buffalo Federation of Women, the Book Lover’s Club and Beta Phi Chapter, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority and Delaware Avenue Baptist Church.

She was the widow of Heard L. Snell. Her second husband of 12 years, Mahatha S. Stewart, died in 1974.

Survivors include two grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in Delaware Avenue Baptist Church, 965 Delaware Ave. The family will receive friends beginning at 10.

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