Ray Stewart was born in Princeton, West Virginia, on November 28, 1918. After graduating from Princeton High School in 1937, he worked for the Celanese Corporation of Virginia before serving with the U.S. Navy during World War II as an aircraft radio technician. After the war, Stewart earned his bachelor's degree from Denver University (speech/radio major, 1950) before going on to finish his Master's at Syracuse University, graduating from the first Radio and Television Master's degree sequence (1951).
Funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation's Fund for Adult Education, Stewart was hired by WOI-TV as a television producer/director early in 1952. His first assignment was to serve as researcher, cinematographer, and narrator as well as film editor and scriptwriter for a production that was originally titled "Know Your State Institutions," but was eventually broadcast under the name "In Our Care." "In Our Care," a 13-week series of documentaries filmed inside Iowa's mental hospitals, prisons and other institutions, which was awarded the National Sylvania Television Award for Production Excellence.
In 1955, Stewart left WOI-TV to accept a position as public relations director of the Iowa Medical Society, where he worked on the first-ever filming of an open-heart surgery. Two years later, Stewart moved to Huntington, West Virginia, where he worked as Public Affairs Director for WHTN-TV. In 1959, he took another public relations director position, this time with WIIC (WPXI-TV) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following his work there, Stewart worked as an independent film producer and photographer until his retirement at age 65. Ray passed away on July 22, 2003.
A collection at Iowa State University Library consists of production notes, scripts, and set plans for two series produced by Ray Stewart for WOI-TV: "In Our Care" and "The 11th Commandment." Both series looked at state and private institutions caring for disabled, physically or mentally ill individuals, convicted criminals, juvenile delinquents, and unwed expectant mothers.