HARRISBURG – State Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) today announced that the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee has passed House Resolutions 687
in honor of Indiana, PA, native Jimmy Stewart. House Resolution 687 would designate May 20, 2020, as Jimmy Stewart Day, and House Resolution 688 would honor May 20, 2020, as the 25th anniversary of the Jimmy Stewart Museum.
“I’m very happy to see these resolutions passed. This gives us a great opportunity to bring some much-needed good news to Pennsylvanians during these extremely difficult times,” said Struzzi. “Of course, our primary focus in Harrisburg is working to reopen Pennsylvania and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the legacy of an incredible Pennsylvanian, I think, is cause for celebration.”
Stewart was born on May 20, 1908, in Indiana County and spent his childhood living just atop Vinegar Hill. Best known for his Oscar-nominated portrayal of George Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Stewart starred in over 80 productions over a 55-year acting career. In 1985, he was awarded an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement for his illustrious career and was nominated for multiple others.
In 1941, Stewart enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to Europe as a commander of a bomber squadron. He was honored with a number of military service recognition awards, including the Air Medal, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1985, he was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Mr. Stewart’s impact on Indiana County, our state and nation are immeasurable. His relatability and fame still attract tourists, holiday enthusiasts and film lovers alike, providing a depth of appeal to our region,” said Struzzi. “He is a beloved figure who epitomized American values both on and off the screen.”
The Jimmy Stewart Museum, opened in 1995, is located on the third floor of the Indiana Public Library in downtown Indiana. It highlights his military service, award-winning film career and his life in general. Stewart personally selected mementos from some of his movies to display in the museum, such as a Winchester rifle and a propeller blade signed by the cast and crew of “Flight of the Phoenix.”
“This museum serves as an international tourist attraction, bringing in history, military, film and holiday enthusiasts from around the globe,” Struzzi added. “It is a tremendous cultural and historical asset to the community and the region I represent.”
"The Jimmy Stewart Museum is honored by the potential recognition for our hometown hero James M. Stewart and the museum's upcoming 25th Anniversary. Jimmy Stewart was always extremely proud of his hometown and the values it instilled in him,” said Janie McKirgan, director of the Jimmy Stewart Museum. “He would have been genuinely touched by this special honor. The museum is grateful to Rep. Jim Struzzi for his efforts on this recognition."
Stewart passed away on July 2, 1997, surrounded by his children at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 89 years old.
Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Kevin DiGuiseppe
717.260.6419 (office), 610.937.4679 (cell)