See you on the other side, dad.
We lost a good Marine on Friday evening (5/19). My (our) dad, Jefferson Bruce Stewart, passed away peacefully, comfortably, without pain and surrounded by love and family at home after a long battle with COPD and dementia.
Born to Carlos and Violet Stewart in Seattle on October 3rd, 1938, the last of 6 children, Jim, Jack, Jerry, Joe, Jesse and Jeff. Dad was a strawberry picker on Vashon in the early ‘50s, also a graduate of Garfield High School in 1956. After high school and like his brothers Jack (Iwo Jima), Jerry (Korea), Joe (Korea) and his father (WWI), he joined the Marine Corp (1956-58). In 1958-59, he joined NOAA as a Merchant Marine mariner and helped chart some of the inside passage to Alaska and through Canada (he was a good chart man). After that he became a Seattle cabbie like his brother, Jack.
This is when he met our mother, Carol Hartung (1961), an Alaskan (Palmer) girl. They lived in a houseboat on Lake Union. They fell in love and were married in 1963. They moved to a house on Capitol Hill in 1964, and started their family: Keith (’65), Craig (’66) and Brenda (’67).
Dad joined the Boilermakers (#104) in 1968-69. Mom and dad moved and bought a house on Vashon in 1972, dragging their 3 children with them. Uncle Joe and Aunt Mickey Stewart, as well as Uncle Mac and aunt Jessie McGuirk also dragged their families to the island that same year. During the Boilermaker strike in 1983-84, dad took a job at the quick stop on Vashon to help make ends meet. He soon joined the Washington State Ferry system and worked his way up to Quartermaster.
We were lucky enough to be able to bring his grandchildren up to the wheelhouse for a visit and on occasion, pilot the ferry boat. Dad retired in 2000 and enjoyed it! He spent time with family, tinkering, gardening and putzing around his property. He liked mowing his lawn on his John Deere and going out on his boat and setting traps for Dungeness crab. We had a cow, chickens and a goat. Dad bought a 1952 GMC pickup for 150 gallons of milk from our Jersey cow, Peaches.
Dad was a quiet and soft spoken man. I’m not sure that I heard him yell, ever! He also had a very good subtle sense of humor, but you’d better pay attention to catch the punch line! He had a very contagious, mischievous laugh and like any good Stewart, when he laughed you could blindfold him with a piece of dental floss (because our eyes disappear). Mom and dad would have been married 60 years this October 25th.
Dad is survived by his wife Carol Ann, his brother Joe and his wife Mickey, his 3 children Keith (and Kimberly), Craig (and Esther) and Brenda. Also several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Craig and I witnessed dad doing 1mph brodies on his lawnmower in the middle of Dockton Rd. at the onset of this horrible dementia disease, that is when we decided to start hiding the keys to his John Deere. So if you see us doing 1mph brodies in the middle of Dockton Rd., don’t worry, it’s just us remembering our father (or maybe you should hide the keys from us!) I am going to imagine that dad is running amok with his brothers and sister who have already passed away, wherever they may be!
Special thanks to the Visiting Angels and Providence Hospice and the Island Funeral Home. Thank you for taking care of our father and our family. Thank you so much for your kindness and love. You have all become like family to us. -Stewarts
See you on the other side, dad. We will miss you until then.