James Stuart Jr., prominent Lincoln banker, found dead
February 23, 2014 6:30 pm • By CHRIS HEADY / Lincoln Journal Star
A successful Lincoln businessman and member of a prominent local family died last week. Former National Bank of Commerce CEO James Stuart Jr. was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19.
A family spokesman did not say what caused the death. A Scottsdale, Ariz., police spokesperson could not be reached over the weekend.
Stuart was a native of Lincoln and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Business Administration.
In 1969, Stuart joined Citibank in New York City and served as a loan officer until 1973, when he joined First Commerce Bancshares (then NBC Co.) as executive vice president. He was named president in 1976, chairman and CEO in 1978, and also became chairman and CEO of National Bank of Commerce in 1985. Stuart spent his life building the organization into an important business voice in Lincoln, friend and colleague Brad Korell said.
“He was a very successful banker,” said Korell, who worked with Stuart for more than 30 years. “I always felt that he was a visionary. He really did build one of the most successful and admired banking organizations in the Midwest.”
Stuart spent much of his career with First Commerce Bancshares, a $3 billion multi-bank holding company headquartered in Lincoln. First Commerce was sold to Wells Fargo in 2000.
He is a former member of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and was appointed by Gov. Dave Heineman to the board of the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 2008. Stuart was also involved with natural resources-related groups such as Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited and U.S. National Forest Foundation.
He served on the international board of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the boards of the University of Nebraska Foundation and Nebraska Wesleyan University.
According to Korell, Stuart was living in Scottsdale, overlooking his family's financial investments, as well as golfing and fishing.
He had three sons and four daughters.
A celebration of Stuart’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at First-Plymouth Congregational Church at 20th and D streets.
James Stuart, Jr., age 70, of Lincoln died in Scottsdale, AZ. Born February 27, 1943 in Lincoln to James and Helen Catherine (Davis) Stuart. James Stuart, Jr. was a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, and attended the University of Nebraska graduating in 1965 with a degree in Business Administration. Subsequent to graduation, Jim served in the U.S. Army as an aviation officer in various aviation groups, including a one year tour of combat duty as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Jim left active duty as a captain. In 1969, Jim joined Citibank in New York City and served as a loan officer in various capacities until 1973 when he joined First Commerce Bancshares (then NBC Co.) as Executive Vice President. He was named President in 1976, Chairman and CEO in 1978, and also became Chairman and CEO of National Bank of Commerce in 1985. First Commerce Bancshares was merged with Wells Fargo in June of 2000. Subsequently, Jim opened an investment office with his two older sons – Jim, III and Lee – where he managed various investment portfolios, and continued his civic activities.
Jim served the community, state and country in many civic, business and political activities. He served as Chair of both the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Lincoln Association. He had also served on the Board of the University of Nebraska Foundation and Nebraska Wesleyan University among others. Jim was also active in many political races.
Since leaving First Commerce Bancshares in June of 2000, Jim served on the International Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and also served on the Board of First Plymouth Church where he served as Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Currently Jim had recently been a director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, on the Board of the Nebraska Environmental Trust and served on CPC Committee for Ducks Unlimited.
Jim lived in Lincoln with his wife Susan traveling frequently to their home in Canada, and their winter home in Scottsdale, AZ. He has six children. Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, diving, skiing, and golf.
Survivors: wife, Susan Sehnert Stuart; sons, James Stuart, III (Barbara), Lee R. Stuart (Debra) of Lincoln, NE; Robert D. Stuart (Thomas Van Klaveren) of Portland, OR; daughters, Susan S. Seiler (Kenneth) of Edina, MN; Carolyn J. Stuart; Megan M. Stuart of Lincoln, NE; mother, Helen Catherine Stuart of Lincoln, NE; sister, Catherine (Kit) Schmoker (Richard) of Edina, MN; brother, W. Scott Stuart (Jane) of Lincoln, NE. Also survived by nine grandchildren, James Stuart, IV; Matthew D. Stuart; Thomas J. Stuart; Samantha G. Seiler; Margaux F. Seiler; Ian F. Seiler, Caroline J. Seiler; Madeline E. Stuart, Benjamin L. Stuart, parents in-law; Walt and Jean Sehnert. Preceded in death by father, James Stuart; two grandsons, Michael Patrick Stuart and Kenneth James Seiler.
Memorials to First Plymouth Church, Nebraska Game & Parks Foundation, Attn: Lynn Hartog, P. O. Box 36, Waverly, NE 68462, and Nebraska Environmental Trust.
Celebration of Jims life will be held at 11:00am Wed. Feb. 26 at First Plymouth congregational church at 20th & D St.
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