Remembrances of Doc Stewart (Summer 2013)

Jim Stewart  Stewart Memorial Bench Edinburgh, Scotland

Doc Stewart
Stewart Memorial Bench
Edinburgh, Scotland

Jim Stewart taught Latin at Sturgis 2006-2011. When we learned  he passed away in April, we invited students, alumni and faculty to write remembrances of Doc Stewart for Soundings, a publication he aways supported.

Robert Albis, Lead Latin Teacher – East

Jim Stewart and I were colleagues in the Latin Department for only one year, since I did not join the faculty until 2010.  However, from those few months I have many memories of the kindness that Jim showed everyone in the Sturgis community.  He certainly went out of his way to make me feel welcome as a teacher new to the school. Jim also worked hard to reach all of his students and was known for the mnemonic devices he taught them to help with learning all those noun and verb forms. A favorite with students was the “fish hook.” This is an aid for remembering the vowel patterns of a particular conjugation because, written on the page in a certain way, the o, i’s, and u bear a vague resemblance to a loop, leader, and hook.  Older students at Sturgis who had Jim as a teacher still refer to this as the “Doc Stewart Fish Hook.” I hope students will continue to call it this for many years to come. The Latin Department will long remember your kindness.  Ave atque vale.

Jim Barrasso, History – East

I’ll always remember the basketball games! I use the St. Andrews golf towel every round! You did so much and never asked for anything! Miss you.

The Bondarek Family

Rest in Peace. Pax Dominis Nobiscum.

Chris DeDecko, Class of 2013

Dr. Stewart, thank you for being a great teacher. R.I.P.

Cindy Gallo, Science and IB Coordinator – East

I remember Jim both as a beloved colleague and as a parent who greatly appreciated his efforts as my son’s teacher. In our Critical Friends Group (a group of teachers who collaborate, helping each other resolve various educational dilemmas), Jim communicated his wisdom and concern for our students. This interaction allowed me the opportunity to get to know Jim, his love for teaching and his understanding of his students. As a parent, I saw Jim as a teacher who shared his love of Latin and Roman history with my son. Jim was a teacher who inspired students to explore their IA topics and expand their learning. He gave them the academic tools and the confidence to be successful. I will miss him and send my heartfelt condolences to his family.

Eric Hillebrand, History – West

In my mind’s eye, Jim and I will always be leaning against the fence at the Hyannis Mets game, talking about the new talent and enjoying the summer day.  That’s where I’d like to remember us.  I will always be your friend.

Denise Hyer, Admin Assistant – East

Doc was a friend who, along with his Dad Bob, became like family – joining us in our home at Thanksgiving, Christmas and for Kentucky Derby parties. They are both missed. Each time I see the Stewart plaid scarf he brought me from Scotland, I will remember him with fondness as my friend, sadly missed.

Jeffrey Hyer, History – East

Farewell, Doc. You’ll always be an honorary member of the History Department here at Sturgis East.

Michael Moen, Class of 2013

Doctor Stewart, you were by far one of the most inspirational faculty members at Sturgis. I adored having you my sophomore year in Latin. You were kind, gentle and always willing to help. You made me feel at ease with myself. We’ve missed you since you left Sturgis. Ago tibi gratias magister.

Patty O’Toole, Nurse – East

You were truly a “gentle” man and someone I am happy to call a friend. You are missed!

Katie Rastallis, Class of 2013

Dr. Stewart was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. I might not have enjoyed the subject but I always enjoyed his class. He will be remembered and missed. Venisti, Vidisti, Vidsti  

Peter Richenburg, Art – West

Jim often displayed his expertise with famous one-liners and understood “Brevity is the soul of wit” – Shakespeare. He had an encyclopedic memory of sports trivia – his knowledge ran from rugby to ping pong. I remember Jim as a loyal friend, a true patriot, connoisseur of single malts and a good companion who did not suffer fools gladly.  I will miss him greatly.

Gabe Roderick, Class of 2011

Without Dr. Stewart I would have no passion for Latin. He made freshman year what it was for me! I remember one day after Midterms, he said we could listen to our IPods. I took out my DS and played Pokémon. He asked what I was doing and told him it was an IPod. He said “That’s the strangest IPod I’ve ever seen.” In a way, I felt we looked out for each other since we were both new (that year). Even when I joined the Academic Team as a senior, he looked out for me and welcomed me into the group. Numquam legatum facies.

Robin Singer, Math – East

I didn’t know Jim Stewart well, but he was always courteous and friendly and positive.

Marion Weeks, Community Outreach

To me, Jim will always be Dr. Sunshine. Although he was a member of the Sturgis Sunshine Committee, the reason I gave him the name went well beyond his committee work.  Whenever we invited faculty to write book reviews for Sturgis Soundings or read at the Sturgis Poetry Coffeehouse, Jim would always be one of the first to sign up – and he did it with great, good humor. Remember when his review of Ball Four by Seattle Pilots pitcher Jim Bouton became a Whodunit Contest? Describing why he selected the book as an all-time favorite, he said, “First and foremost, my parents had forbidden me to read Ball Four because it was so controversial.” Jim described how he secretly bought the book and read it at the British Open when he was a teenager. The challenge was to figure out who would have been the right age to read a book published in 1970 as a teenager. When Gordon Bellemer put two and two together to win the contest, Jim gave him a copy of Ball Four as the prize.

Books and reading were a theme and passion in Jim’s life. The Latin and Roman History collections of the Reference Room include many fine books donated from Jim’s personal collection. On several occasions, he donated stacks of excellent resources saying, “The kids need these books for their research and if I need them, I’ll know where to find them.” His generosity, good humor, amazing recall of history and love of sports (especially cricket and baseball) will long be remembered.

I’ll close with a few lines from one of Jim’s favorite Simon and Garfunkel  songs:

Old Friends/Bookends

A time it was
It was a time
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you.

Remembrances of Doc Stewart
Remembrances of Doc Stewart Poster

The following anonymous messages were written by students:

“Dr. Stewart, I will always remember how hard working and considerate you were. Rest in peace.”

Ago tibi gratias for everything you taught me and for being the only teacher to never give up on me. -You will be remembered.”

“I never took Latin but I wish I did.”

Ave atque Vale. Hail and Farewell, Doctor Stewart.”

“Thank you for being a great Latin teacher, even if I only had you one year. R.I.P.”

“You will always be missed and never forgotten.”

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