During his career, Alastair also served as editor-in-chief and editorial director of Thomson Regional Newspapers, which owned the newspaper when it launched.
He had also previously served as The Scotsman and TRN’s London editor, as well as working on newspapers in Kenya and Nigeria, prior to the several months he spent in charge of SoS.
On its launch day, he told staff: “We have all been in on the start of a great new enterprise. Now all we have to do is do it again, and again, and again, because a great future lies ahead.”
Born in Edinburgh in 1927 to a father who also worked in newspapers, his first full-time job was as a sub-editor on the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch after completing both National Service and a degree at Edinburgh University.
Magnus Linklater, editor of The Scotsman when SoS was launched, said: “I trusted his judgment greatly. He was a wise old bird. He knew journalism extremely well and knew Scotland even better.”
Brian Groom, who was Mr Stuart’s deputy at SoS before later becoming editor, said: “He was courteous and kind, but never tolerated woolly thinking or sloppy writing.
“It was a privilege to work with Alastair in creating SoS. At an age when most people would be thinking of winding down – and not in the best of health – he undertook this adventurous task with dedication, humour and a determination not to be hidebound by conventional thinking.
“He once said ‘I’d like to banish the stereotype of the whingeing Scot’. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for creating a paper that, over nearly three decades, has produced some of Scotland’s finest journalism.”
Alastair’s influential role also saw him invited to be one of those who decided how newspapers should handle national secrets as a member of the D-notice committee, now the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee.
John Marquis, who served as TRN’s London sports editor when Alastair worked in the capital, said: “Alastair was a very able journalist and senior manager – certainly among the best I worked with in my half century in journalism. He was not only very astute, he was calm and cool with it, and an excellent judge of character.
“He was chief London editor of Thomson Regional Newspapers when I was the group’s London sports editor. I enjoyed several years working with him, and he taught me a lot about management.
“He was a man of charisma and intellect who combined exceptional ability with great charm. I am very sorry to hear of his passing.”
Alastair was married to Anne, who he met at university, for 64 years. He leaves three children, Catriona, Lewis and Hamish, and four grandchildren, Calum, Shona, Cara and Aidan.