Former longtime Stettler mayor and councilor, educator and community builder Robert (Bob) Stewart was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Town of Stettler six years after he died.
A special plaque was unveiled at Stettler Recreation Centre by his wife Carol Stewart, Town of Stettler Acting Mayor Redford Peeples and Lee Penner, direcor of parks and leisure during a ceremony Sept. 12.
“Any tribute to Bob cannot begin to capture his big heart, his ready laughter or all he did,” said Peeples who served with Stewart on council and read the biography.
“Still we hope this salute to ‘Mr. Stettler’ will reflect our gratitude and appreciation for all he gave.”
Stewart died in 2003 at 71 years of age.
“Robert (Bob) Stewart did more than live and work in our community – he helped build, shape and define it,” said a biography prepared by the nomination committee.
“‘Stewie’ was a husband father, teacher, coach, athlete and exceptional civic leader.
“He was a true visionary. He worked tirelessly to make dreams come into realty,” it said.
“Bob’s love of family was matched by his passion for sports and a commitment to helping others,”
He took an active role in anything and everything that benefited the community according to those who knew him.
Stewart served as mayor from 1980 to 1983 and 1986 to 1992 and councilor from 1974 to 1976 and 1977 to 1979.
An educator for 35 years, Bob taught physical education and sciences throughout his career and was vice-principal of William E. Hay Composite High School for 21 years, retiring in 1990.
In his 49 years in Stettler, he coached more than 100 community and school teams in all types of sports including hockey, baseball, football basketball, volleyball, badminton, and track and field.
He was a skilled participant on local hockey and baseball teams for over 45 years.
“Bob had a remarkable ability to bring people together to work towards a common goal that extended beyond the school into our community,” his biography continued.
Known for always encouraging his students to give to their community, Stewart coached numerous championship teams and organized hundreds of meets, tournaments and championships and was said to be instrumental in bringing the 1991 Alberta Summer Games to Stettler.
An active member of the Elks, Rotary, Kinsmen, K-40 service clubs and golf and curling clubs, he also served on numerous community, regional and provincial boards and played a significant role in convincing the provincial government to widen Highway 56.
His memberships included those of Stettler Recreation Commission, Stettler and District Chamber of Commerce, Red Deer College, Alberta School Athletic Association, Alberta Sports Council, and Alberta Sports, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, among others.
For this involvement, volunteerism, and so much more, he was named “Mr. Stettler”.
At the time of his death, Stewart was busy working with others to bring KidSport and the new swimming complex to Stettler.
The lifetime achievement award unveiled last weekend is one of many others he received that include:
ASAA Bob Routledge Award of Merit in 1972.
Alberta Football Coach’s Award in 1972.
CAPHER Honour Award of Edmonton in 1979.
Alberta Parks and Recreation Volunteer Award in 1985.
Stettler Citizen of the Year in 1989.
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Multi-Sports Builder Award in 1992.