Richard “Rick” Daniel Stewart, Jr., 80, of Bakersfield, California, passed away on April 1st, 2022, in his hometown of North Richland Hills, TX.
Born in Bakersfield, California, to Richard & Norma Stewart on July 14th, 1941, Rick Stewart was raised in Oildale, a suburb of Bakersfield. He completed grade school in his hometown before attending UCLA at sixteen. While attending college, Rick took his passion for Drag Racing from the streets of Bakersfield to the local Drag Strip with his first souped-up car, a 1957 Chevy Bel Aire. After graduating from UCLA as an X-Ray technician, Rick resided and worked in the Orange County area at a local hospital. Still maintaining his hobby and love of Drag Racing he raced at Drag Strips up and down the west coast and sometimes visiting the mid-west throughout the mid-Sixties. Except instead of a souped-up Chevy, he was now piloting a Front Engine Rail Dragster, capable of reaching speeds over 200 Miles Per Hour. The racing community coined him the “The Iceman.” A moniker notibily documented in the film, “Seven Second Love Affair,” which followed Rick “The Iceman” Stewart and his quest to hold multiple speed and elapsed time records down the quarter-mile. After retiring as a driver in the late Sixties, Rick would take on a new role that moved him from California to the Central and North-East areas. Now managing Dragstrips in Texas, Detroit and New York then back to California to oversee tracks in Fremont and Candlestick, where he would often be seen with his beloved daughter Liz King.
Although his time as a track manager was short, he developed his management skills that would start another move back to Bakersfield and eventually became the Director of Radiology at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, serving nearly twenty-three years. During this time, he met the love of his life, and in 1983 Rick and Ruby married on April 16th. The two would adopt two children together, Ricky and Robin Stewart.
Rick never lost his passion for racing and would participate in part-time roles on the weekends, where you would find him at Mesa Marin, a local short track, or Famoso raceway as the division 7 Starter for NHRA events. In 1995, the Stewart family moved to Keller, Texas. This last move would also see Rick in his final and most recognized professional role, becoming the second Chief Starter in NHRA history. A post he held for fifteen years. Rick retired in 2011 in North Richland Hills Tx where he lived comfortably until his death.
Rick is preceded in death by his Father, Richard Stewart,Sr., Mother Norma Taylor, Step Father Kenny Taylor, and Stepmother Lucy Stewart.
Wife Ruby Stewart survives Rick Stewart. Children; Liz King, Ricky Stewart, Robin Stewart. Grandchildren; Kyle King, Kody King, Jay Stewart.
Funeral services will be held 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Friday, April 15th, 2022, at Forest Ridge Funeral Home, 825 Mid Cities Blvd. North Richland Hills, TX 76182.