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1967 Carmen 2024

Carmen Marie Stewart

July 20, 1967 — June 4, 2024


Services will be Live-Streamed beginning at 4:45PM (CT). Please click Here to view Live-Stream

Carmen Marie Stewart, 56, of Vermillion SD, passed away on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Surrounded by her family, after a 3-year battle with cancer.
Services will be held Sunday, June 9th, 2024, at UCC Church (226 E. Main St.) in Vermillion, South Dakota. Visitation and remembrance at 4:00, funeral service held at 5:00, and luncheon at 6:00
 Thousands of children and families across the state of SD have lost an influential and extraordinary advocate for early childhood education. She was a 56-year-old strong Irish woman who, much to her character, left this world with an Irish goodbye.

Carmen was born on July 20, 1967, to Jim and DeLetta Manning in Montecello, IN. At the age of 9, her family moved to Burbank, South Dakota, where they lived in the home built by her grandfather, Edward James Manning.  

She attended St. Agnes catholic school and graduated from Vermillion High School. She married Curtis Gregg, and from this union she was blessed with 3 wonderful children, Sarah, Johnathan, and Patrick.

Carmen proceeded to earn her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and her master’s degree in administrative studies at USD, all while raising 3 children and working full-time. After the completion of her bachelor’s degree, on September 8, 1993, she started her 30-year career with USD HeadStart. First, as a substitute teacher, moving to a classroom teacher, advancing to such roles as Education Coordinator, Assistant Director, and ultimately becoming the Director of USD HeadStart.

With Carmen’s exceptional leadership skills, her legacy will continue to live on through the programs she was dedicated to and advocated for. She served on many boards aimed towards bettering the lives of children. Throughout her career, she was recognized as the recipient of various awards, including the Clay County Child Advocacy Award in 2022, and the Susan Smith Award in 2023.  The Susan Smith award was created to honor an individual who exemplifies the dedication and unending energy Susan gave to Head Start children.  This annual award is given to one who has shown outstanding commitment and support to Head Start in South Dakota.

In 2001 she met the love of her life, Layne Stewart.  They were married July 10, 2004, at the Prairie Lanes Bowling Center in Vermillion, SD and would be celebrating their 20-year wedding anniversary this summer.  Layne and his family took in Carmen and her children as their own, confirming the saying “love is thicker than blood”.

Carmen enjoyed exploring her creativity through many avenues including restoring furniture and crafting, creating new things from old.  She was a frequent auction and thrift shopper, and could be seen through the years in the 2nd love of her life, her 1996 white Ford Taurus station wagon, filled with antique “treasures”.  She lived by the words “the floor is the biggest shelf in your house,” and has passed her love of collecting down to her daughter and granddaughter.

She recently enjoyed spending time at her family’s newly acquired Lake House in northern South Dakota.  She was able to enjoy time on the deck listening to the water and watching the pelicans and sharing her vision for the space with her family.   

The love that she held for her family was immeasurable.  She was an amazingly present and devoted mother, grandmother, spouse, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and colleague.  The relationship she held with her grandchildren, Cameron and Charlotte, was one like no other.  She spent countless hours, days and nights, weeks and weekends, playing, teaching, supporting and enjoying every minute of being Grandma Carmen.

Welcoming her into heaven are her father, James Manning, and her grandmother, Hilda Raymond, as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

She is survived by her husband Layne Stewart, her children Sarah, Johnathan and Patrick Gregg, grandchildren Cameron and Charlotte Robb, mother DeLetta (Don) Campbell, in-laws Bev and Earl Stewart, sisters Heather (Danny) Schenk (Carl, Carissa, Trevor, Tessa, Natalie, Mandy, Holly, Dana), Bridget (Steve) Hellmann (Devin, Elena, Maia, Cole), Amy (Butch) Farley (Lucy, Annie, Bennett), Dawn Stewart (Carson Brim), brother Tim (Katie) Manning (Mason, Jenna, Emmett), aunt Judy Clemens, as well as great nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles.   

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Carmen Stewart Scholarship account through Voyage Federal Credit Union (Vermillion, SD. This account is unable to accept online donations, if you unable to get to the bank in person, online donations can be made via Venmo, @Laynesworld1, or by scanning the QR code below. 

The memorial scholarship to continue Carmen’s passion for education will be awarded to a Vermillion High School graduate, with the plan to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education at USD. You can also continue to honor Carmen and her life’s work by volunteering with organizations that benefit the lives of children.



To send flowers to the family in memory of Carmen Marie Stewart, please visit our flower store.

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Sunday, June 9, 2024

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Memorial Service

Sunday, June 9, 2024

5:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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