Living…loving…and laughing. Thirty years ago I did a lot of that on WBT with guests on my program. I was lucky to have a job I enjoyed, and meet so many extraordinary people. Ida Stewart was one of those guests. I had her on my program over a span of about 3 years. She was a high profile PR person because she was Estee Lauder’s Vice President and First Assistant of Ms. Lauder’s famous cosmetic company for almost 40 years.
Ida Stewart grew up in Clinton, South Carolina and graduated in 1943 from Winthrop University in Rock Hill. She had pizzazz, and loved to dress fashionably. Ida became famous for all the exotic hats she wore. It wasn’t surprising that Estee Lauder connected with Ida since that’s what she needed to build her cosmetic industry. Here’s a quote from Ida: “…for nearly 40 years I had the most wonderful experience and opportunities any cotton picking, freckled faced, southern gal could imagine. Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Princess Grace, President Reagan, I met, as well as hours selling behind cosmetic counters with Ms. Lauder.”
Estee Lauder died in 2004 at the age of 97. Ida’s short tribute said this: “…do not cry for that which has to be, but smile for that which has been.”
Over the years I kept a correspondence with Ida Stewart because she had such an extraordinary life and told it on radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. She lived and loved New York City, but always looked in the rear view mirror to see South Carolina. Eventually, she would come home.
Ida always encouraged me about my transportation business…she was an unbelievable motivator. I always told her when she decided to settle in Clinton, I would meet her at the airport and drive her to her retirement home. I had that pleasure on November 22nd. Ida will be 97 soon, but she still has that radiant smile, a hat that makes a statement, fingernails polished in all different colors and socks like a rainbow. Pizzazz never left this aging glamour girl. She is all settled in at the beautiful Clinton Presbyterian Retirement Home in Clinton, S.C.
Her footprints are a gift to all who cross her path.