January 15, 2007, - 11:56 am

Angel Among Us Goes to Heaven: Larry Stewart, Secret Santa, RIP

By Debbie Schlussel
Recently, I wrote about Larry Stewart, the Secret Santa who, for years, anonymously handed over $1.3 million to the poor and homeless all over America. USA Today’s Nancy Hellmich did a series of articles on Stewart.
He never wanted to be known, but outed himself around Christmas because a tabloid was about to do so. Sadly, it was Stewart’s last Christmas on earth. He died of esophageal cancer at age 58 on Friday.
Stewart was the embodiment of everything great about America. He, too, was once one of those down-and-out-on-his-luck people. But a diner owner, Ted Horn, was kind to him, handing him a $20 to cover a meal, pretending to find it on the floor, and suggesting that Stewart had dropped it. Stewart promised G-d he’d repay the favor. He became a successful businessman and a millionaire, with his own long-distance phone company.

larrystewart.jpg

Secret Santa Larry Stewart, Angel Among Us, RIP

In 1979, he began by giving a big tip to a poor carhop at a hamburger drive-in. He felt so good by giving to her, he want to the bank, got more cash, and gave it out. While he sometimes worked with social service bureaucracies, he usually did it the direct way–handing money to those he saw on the street, in diners, pawn shops, and fast food places.
Ted Horn, the man who originally gave him the $20 to cover breakfast at the Dixie Diner in Tupelo, Mississippi, said of Stewart:

I think he was an angel. The Lord needed another angel, so he called Larry home.

Larry Stewart–Secret Santa, Angel on Earth, and Great American–Rest in Peace.
More on Larry Stewart from USA Today here and here.

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3 Responses

Well- G-d only lends us angels.
Rest in peace.

MarySJ on January 15, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Rest in Peace, Mr. Stewart. I wonder how many people he helped over the years? All the people who had their faith renewed when they were down on their luck?

CarpeDiem on January 16, 2007 at 10:06 am

Merry Christmas to you, Larry, in Heaven I know you are! May those you touched with your kindnesses play it forward in honor of you once more. For each who read this, do one small act of kindness to a stranger, for Larry’s legacy to live on. Don’t ever forget how one person can lead the way to making a differance. God rest your gentle soul, Larry. The Angels are dancing with you tonight!

Tina on December 22, 2009 at 12:45 am

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