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Born: Aug 15, 1936

Date of Passing: Dec 01, 2012

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JOHN MARTIN STEWART August 15, 1936 - December 1, 2012 This past summer, John and Shirley took their four children, spouses and grandchildren to the Turks and Caicos to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. This was a special wish of John's that Katherine, Barbara and husband Glen, Ian and wife Liane, Susan and husband Ian, and their six grandchildren, Gryphon, Drayke, Gregory, Leo, Kira and Ariana could celebrate this special time together. John leaves his loving wife, children and grandchildren to remember and celebrate the wonderful times they had together. He is also survived by his widowed sister Margaret, brother Robert and his wife Eve, and brother George and his wife Susan. Born in Scotland, John spent his teen years in Jamaica and then came to Canada with his family. He went to McMaster University and obtained his BSc., MSc. and PhD. After being granted a NATO fellowship, he did a two year post-doctorate at the Macaulay Institute in Aberdeen studying the peat bogs of Scotland. When he returned to Canada, he taught at McMaster University in the Biology department. He came to the University of Manitoba in 1969 and taught in the Botany department where he continued his research in peat bogs and wild rice, and later became the head of the department. He was proud of his students and their successes. John enjoyed playing bridge with a couples bridge group for many years and with the duplicate bridge group. He liked to play golf and curl. He was a people person who enjoyed meeting people and finding out about their lives and interests, so the many cruises around the world were a source of enjoyment to him. As long as we remember and think of him, he will always be with us. Cremation has taken place. There will be no formal service but his family invites his friends to join with them in celebration and remembrance of his life at Southwood Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to send a contribution to the Winnipeg Humane Society or the charity of your choice.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Dec 04, 2012

Condolences & Memories (15 entries)

  • To Shirley and Family. Shocked to hear of John's passing. I missed seeing him at McMaster's Yr. 59 Reunion. Brad Frid sent me a photo of the group. He was always a good sport. Thinking of John brings back many memories. He was a member of our wedding Party 51 years ago. - Posted by: Lily and Paul Yamaguchi (McMaster Classmate) on: Dec 09, 2012

  • I did not personally know mr. Stewart, but as the poet said "I am affected by the death of any man". - Posted by: barbara bradley (caretaker of kate's animals when she's away) on: Dec 06, 2012

  • Shirley and family - my deepest sympathy to you at this time of sorrow. "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal" (from a headstone in Ireland) - Posted by: Margaret Smith ((Botany Dept Secretary 1988...)) on: Dec 06, 2012

  • We met John at Kate and my brother, Kshitij Kothari's wedding, in Austin, TX, and still remember his wonderful sense of humor and being at ease with everyone. It was delightful to talk to him, and he made everyone feel warm and welcome. As Kate said 'He leaves a pretty big gap, and we will miss him and his quirky sense of humor alot'. We pray that Shirley, Kate and the whole family get the strength at this difficult time. Our thoughts are with the family. - Posted by: Vimla Kothari, Sanghani family and Oza Family (Kate's relatives) on: Dec 06, 2012

  • So sorry for your loss Shirley! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! Sincerely, Lorraine - Posted by: Lorraine Gauthier (Advisor) on: Dec 06, 2012

  • John came to the Macaulay Institute for Soil Research in Aberdeen, Scotland for a post doctoral fellowship at which time I was a scientific assistant in the Forest Soils Dept. We worked in the same area as the Dept of Pedology. John breezed in and, for the two years he was with us, was a breath of fresh air, full of fun and coping well with the jokes and antics we got up to - all the assistants being young and in their first jobs. We even played a prank by sending him a bunch of Valentine's cards in the mail, knowing full well he was married. His only remark was “ You lot have a lot of explaining to do to Shirley “. I babysat Katherine every Wednesday night during the curling season when John and Shirley joined other staff members. We all had hilarious field work experiences - too many to relate here, and can relate to the one left on this site by one of his graduate students. John had a love of good Scotch and good company. I just returned from Scotland where I had a meal in the Old School House which in Aberdeen is next to a beautiful old stone Pub named “ Ma Camerons “ where, along with a dozen girls, we had our farewell party for John at the end of his time in Aberdeen. He was in his element and the envy of the other young fellows in the pub at the time. I had spoken to him before I went on my trip and knew he didn’t have long with us. I had some quiet time outside that pub and knew all who worked with him in those two years would never forget him. My husband and I send the whole family our condolences at this sad time, but hope that they will get some comfort in knowing just how much his personality touched so many in his, sadly abbreviated, life. - Posted by: Frances Forbes (Work colleague and friend.) on: Dec 05, 2012

  • Sondra and I were surprised and greatly saddened to hear of John's recent death. As friends and former neighbours of the Stewart family we have shared many memorable times together; conversations on a range of issues, dinners, social evenings, libations, Christmas gift exchanges to name a few. We will miss but always remember John as being a most friendly, cheerful, and humorous neighbour. His enthusiasm, wide interests, and intelligent conversations were always appreciated. We extend our sincere condolences to Shirley and the children and our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. - Posted by: Sondra and Ed Bruni (Family friends and former neighbours) on: Dec 05, 2012

  • John's 2 year period at the Macaulay Institute brings many happy memories for me and I know for my dad, on whose behalf I write this. (Dad is suffering from dementia and now lives in a home in Helensburgh, the town of his birth). John shared dad's passion for peat and the two became close colleagues and close friends. As a child I can remember visiting the Stewart home in Wellbrae Terrace. Often these visits took place after school with my mum. She (Sheena) and Shirley also developed a good friendship and often enjoyed afternoon coffee together while we, the children, played. As for John and dad - well - I can clearly remember lying in my bed at Airyhall Place and listening to the increasing volume of laughter coming from the living room downstairs! John and Shirley would be round for the evening and I think one or two drams were consumed and enjoyed! Dad and John were incorrigible - they laughed, joked and kidded each other on until the tears were rolling down their cheeks! This was something that happened every time they met, even on the occasions when John and Shirley had returned to Canada and would come back to Scotand for a visit. It was clear that they loved each others' company. I have many happy memories and I know dad will still have some too. On behalf of the Robertson family, I would like to extend heartfelt sympathy to Shirley and her family at this very sad time. - Posted by: Barbara Gray (on behalf of Allan Robertson) (Colleague and dear friend of my father's) on: Dec 05, 2012

  • I was a graduate student of Dr. Stewart in the early 90s. It was at the time when he was Department Head but still wanted to get into the field, which is something he truly loved. On one occasion we visited a bog–fen complex near Elma Manitoba to do a quick environmental assessment of a site for potential peat extraction. We drove up to our site in what was an old family station wagon, a vehicle that he annually adjusted so that the timing was just right to maximize fuel efficiency. The engine revs were so low that having the vent on, the radio on and the applying the break simultaneous would cause the car to stall. There was always a scramble at every stop to turn at least one of those things off (at least those things that could be turned off), so as to not have the engine die. On this day, we got to our appointed spot after a variety of machinations and complex adjustment of both the radio and fan and began our walk into the bog. I had brought my boots (as instructed) because it would be wet and followed him as best as I could keep up. At first the trail was dry, but soon sure footing gave way to tussocks which I eagerly (at first) tried to jump from one to the next to keep from sinking. In short course I resigned myself to filling my boots and simply continuing to walk in John's footsteps. I looked up from my last dry footfall to see him (now many meters in front of me) walking briskly through nearly waist-deep water. He was walking tall and proud through rough country and that is how I will remember him. - Posted by: David Walker (Master's Student) on: Dec 04, 2012

  • John was a valued member of our Saturday morning curling league and I enjoyed having him as my third last year. I will especially miss his boundless early morning energy (the exact opposite of me!), his positive attitude and his entertaining curling commentary. Winning or losing, we always had a lot of fun on our team. - Posted by: Michelle Strutt (curling friend) on: Dec 04, 2012

  • When I was having lunch with Kate a week or so ago, she looked up at me and smiled - her eyes looking so much like John's I was taken aback. To have known such a man as John Stewart is a jewel to keep and treasure. We will, too, treasure those memories we have of Christmas time! Poppers! Brussels Sprouts! Doggies tails knocking wine glasses off tables! Best of all, all the laughter and camaraderie. Such fun! Such great memories! Our lives are richer for having known him. - Posted by: Jan & Dennis Parker (friend of the family) on: Dec 04, 2012

  • We all have lost a colleague, a mentor and a voice. - Posted by: Tom Booth (Ecological Colleague in the Department of Botany) on: Dec 04, 2012

  • I first met John when he and Shirley took on a mercy mission to fetch me from San Angelo, Texas to Austin, Texas for a wedding to which I could not drive. They were/are educated, interesting and interested people. It was my privilege to have them captive for a few hours in their car to talk to them. I also enjoyed playing Scrabble with the two of them and Kate. I'm a bright person, but no match for those three! Thank you to both John and Shirley for helping me in my hour of need, for being such kind and wonderful souls and for raising such a precious person (Katherine) who has been and will be my friend forever. I am in your debt. - Posted by: Jeanette McWilliams (Friend of Kate) on: Dec 04, 2012

  • Our deepest sympathy to Shirley and family ... we are thinking of you on your loss ... words cannot express the sympathy and hope this message brings to you and your family today. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. - Posted by: Carrol & Neil Longmuir (Friend .... ) on: Dec 04, 2012

  • I was saddened to hear of John's passing. I remember many good interactions with him as a colleague in the life sciences, his enthusiasm for Botany and his research. He was a strong asset to the University and left a very positive mark! - Posted by: Erwin Huebner (Colleague and former Head Zoology) on: Dec 04, 2012

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