OLIVER STEWARD (STU)
Well known Dawson Creek and area businessman, sportsman, rancher and “story teller,” Oliver (Stu) Steward passed away January 31, 2012 at age 81. Born July 5, 1930 in a little farmhouse near Meeting Creek, AB, he loved to tell tales of his early days when work and play was done with horses and a good prank was the highlight of his day.
Stu moved to Red Deer for high school and here he played hardball with their senior ball team and hockey with the Red Deer Rustlers, both in the prestigious Central Alberta League. In 1950, on a blind date, he met his future wife, Kathryn Hearonemus, and they were married August 30, 1952, in Donalda.
He loved to tease her with the story (a little stretched) that the only reason she caught him was because he broke his leg in a hockey game against Ponoka, and he could not run!
The young couple moved to Stettler, AB where Stu became an accomplished cabinet maker under the tutelage of a Danish craftsman. A competitive athlete, he continued to play sports with Stettler in the Central Alberta Senior baseball and hockey leagues. In 1953, Oliver Jr. was born, followed by daughter Karen, in 1956. At this time they moved to Dawson Creek where he worked for P&M Lumber (now Home Hardware). He always joked that it was wearing his ball jacket that got him the job. The local Cardinals baseball team needed his skills as catcher and shortstop! In winter he played hockey with the Dawson Creek Canucks and Spirit River Rangers. In 1958 son Rod, was born and soon after Stu started Steward’s Cabinet Shop and Carpentry Services. This he owned and operated for 30 years. He was a skilled finishing carpenter and many of his cabinets still remain in area homes throughout the Peace, from Fort St. John into Alberta.
As his children grew, Oliver stopped playing ball and hockey and channeled his efforts into minor sports and family recreation. He was instrumental in the organization of the Dawson Creek Little League Baseball Farm system, the D.C. Commercial Hockey League, the D.C. Jr. Canucks in 1973, and eventually the D.C. Kodiaks. Oliver coached minor ball and hockey for over 15 years. He taught many boys, now men, not only the skills of the game, but the importance of sportsmanship, and the lessons to be learned in both winning and losing. “COACH” will be missed by many.
In the 1960’s, Stu purchased some horses, then a few cows, and eventually became both rancher and cabinet maker. His family fondly remember weekends spent on horseback at the bush farm in Progress, rounding up the cattle for a count, followed by a campfire, a wiener roast and trek back to the highway through 7 gates and about 14 mud holes! At one mud hole he parked an old tractor because it was so big you had to pull the truck through! Those were days of active involvement with the Rope and Saddle Club, the Fall Fair Board, gymkhanas and trail rides. He was a member of the Bear Mountain Community Pasture for over 30 years, retiring his membership in 2009 and selling his last cows in 2010.
In 1981, Oliver was recipient of the “Earl Johnson Memorial Award” for recognition of his many contributions towards sporting activities in Dawson Creek as a worker, builder and promoter of sports.
Dad/Stu was quite a character! He loved family, sports and ranching, was a gifted story teller, quick of wit, and always ready for a good joke. Honest and hardworking, he was a man whose word and a handshake were worth more than a signature. As many friends have commented, “unforgettable.” He will be sadly missed by his loving wife Kathy, children Oliver, Karen and Rod; his grandchildren; sister Win; nieces and nephews and many friends. Predeceased by brother Wayne.
A funeral service for Oliver was held Friday, February 3, 2012 at Bergeron Funeral Chapel. Oliver was interred in the Brookside Cemetery, Dawson Creek, B.C.