Posted by: David Stewart | January 7, 2012

My final remembrance of Dad

My Dad died over the holidays, on December 29, 2011. We had his memorial service the following Tuesday, on January 3.  My two sisters and I all spoke for a few minutes at the service. Here is what I read.



People say I look like Dad – same receding hairline, same wide hips. But there are a few deeper things within me which I find reflects who John Morrow Stewart was.

One is, we built things together: we built a Pinewood Derby car together when I was in 6th grade that won first place. We built stereo speakers together and the stereo receiver, a Heathkit. And now, I manage engineers for a living, people who build things.

He traveled the world over: many times even with us his kids, which must have been painful some of the time. From Edmonton, Canada to Iguacu Falls, Brazil, I traveled with him and sat through countless slide shows of his travels. And now, I have been to 25 countries and been to China alone 32 times.

He worked hard: He valued putting his whole being into work, not retiring until he was in his 80s. He was frugal with a dollar, and we did not live extravagant lives. But he played hard too and put his whole being into his passions as well, like orchids and photography (more endless slide shows). He challenged me to be great, and in the end he affirmed me, as recently as two days before his stroke, saying, “You turned out well.” And now I too work hard and play hard, challenge others and try to affirm others.

He took care of himself: He did calisthenics every morning for as long as I can remember, he took the stairs to his third floor office at the Medical School and chided me when I got winded climbing those flights. He would tell me if I had put on some weight. He ate right but he ate well. And he lived to a good old age, full of years. And now, I try to take care of myself as well.

There are the little things a father teaches a son. How to tie a tie. Clip your fingernails after a shower, the nails are softer then. Never split infinitives.

But deep within him was his spiritual nature. One of my earliest memories of sitting in church was during a prayer I would have my eyes open, as small boys will do, and I remember looking at Dad and watching him pray, seeing him with his eyes closed. He taught me to honor God and to believe. We were not without some disagreements on details. But Dad was connected with the divine and powerful. He forms part of my image of my heavenly Father, and this influence for me will probably last the longest.

I will miss you, Dad because you are a part of me.



  1. Very nice and well written remembrance. Simple but profound. Your Dad will always be with you from mow on.
    I too lost my Dad a few years ago during the holidays too, and I too learned many good lessons from him, all the way until the end. His memory, his advice and his love lives with me every day of my life.

  2. Thank you for sharing some of your very special recollections and musings, with your friends. It is beautifully constructed and a tribute to the man who showed you how to follow the current of your life.

  3. Many young people nowadays often talk negatively of their parents; they don’t seem to understand or appreciate the amount of time and dedication put in to being a good parent. It’s so nice to know that there are people out there who love their parents and will miss them. That was really beautiful. Our parents are the building blocks in our lives.

  4. Hi David,

    I found your blog from your myanmar pictures online,somehow led me to your old blog and to this blog.. your travel journeys are really nice to read.

    This is a truly touching piece you have written.
    I’m sure your dad is looking down at you with happiness.

    I’m still 23 and with my parents, but never really got about to tell them how much i love them. But thanks for reminding me to =)

    anyways, nice travel pictures=)
    -Naz , all the way from sunny singapore!

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