About this Famous Person
Source : Tim DOWLING
Born in Saint Johns, Arizona, to Levi Stewart Udall (1891–1960) and Louisa Lee Udall (1893–1974), he had five siblings: Inez, Elma, Morris, Eloise, and David Burr. As a young boy Stewart worked on the family farm in St. Johns. Stewart was remembered by his mother as a child with tremendous energy and an unquenchable curiosity.
Stewart Udall attended the University of Arizona for two years until World War II. He served four years in the Air Force as an enlisted gunner on a B-24 Liberator, flying fifty missions over Western Europe from Italy with the 736th Bomb Squadron, 454th Bomb Group, for which he received the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. He returned to the University of Arizona in 1946, where he played guard on a championship basketball team and attended law school. In 1947, Udall, along with his brother Mo, helped integrate the University of Arizona cafeteria. Mo and Stewart were respected student athletes (and Mo was student body president) at the time. On their way to lunch at the Student Union one day, they saw a group of black students eating their lunch outside. Black students were allowed to buy food in the cafeteria but had to eat outside. They invited a black freshman, Morgan Maxwell Jr., to share their table in the cafeteria, helping calm some long simmering racial issues surrounding segregation at the University.
Udall received his law degree and was admitted to the Arizona bar in 1948. He began his law practice in Tucson shortly thereafter. Udall became increasingly active in public service, being elected to the School Board of Amphitheater Public Schools (District 10) in Tucson in June 1951. As a school board member, he participated in desegregating the Amphitheater School District before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education. Udall was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona's Second District in 1954. He served with distinction in the House for three terms on the Interior and Education and Labor committees.