Shirley Ann (Smith) Stewart, 89
BATH - Shirley Ann (Smith) Stewart, 89, of Bath, passed away on July 23, 2018 following a hemorrhagic stroke, surrounded by family. She was born on Dec. 15, 1928 in Waltham, Mass. She was the daughter of the late William Rufus Smith and Esther Mae Harding Smith. In summer of 1946, her parents moved with her and her four brothers from Ohio to Friendship, Maine, later settling in Hampden Highlands. That fall, she enrolled at the University of Maine at Orono, where she met her future husband of 60 years, the late Ronald E. Stewart of Madawaska. Together they raised four children beginning in Madawaska, and subsequently Brewer and Orrington. In 1963, the family moved to Portland where Shirley enjoyed a career in the Bursar's Office at the University of Maine (now U. of Southern Maine). Many students knew her kind and happy demeanor, and she knew most of the students' names.
Upon retirement in 1987, Shirley and her husband settled in Wilton where they built a house overlooking the Western Maine mountains. There, she became very involved with her church community. She also loved to garden, and spent endless hours tending to her vegetable and flower gardens.
In 2000, Shirley and her husband relocated in Bath to be nearer to their daughter, Nancy, and her family. In Bath, Shirley became involved with the Neighborhood United Church of Christ (formerly United Congregational Church), where she served on the Good Samaritan committee for years. She often kept the financial records for the program. When needs exceeded available church funds, it was not uncommon for Shirley to give her own money for the needy to buy groceries and gas or to pay a utility bill. She deeply loved her church and its congregation, which after her husband died became part of her daily life. Shirley's husband died after a long illness in 2010.
Later in life, Shirley revived her earlier passion for art. She began producing a prolific amount of oil, acrylic and pastel paintings. She always painted for her own enjoyment and to give to family, and was still painting in the last week of her life. She was highly creative and kept busy braiding and hooking rugs, knitting, and quilting. Her prayer shawl - book club brought her much joy as they engaged in book reviews and knitting prayer shawls.
Even though home was her favorite place to be, Shirley always loved a good party or gathering, never lost her sense of adventure, and loved to travel. She was always ready to go when the opportunity arose. With her husband, they visited every state in the U.S. and all 10 Canadian provinces. They also enjoyed a lengthy tour of Scotland, where they toured the countryside and discovered small rural villages and traditions. In her 80s, she traveled across the country twice to visit her older brother, Lee, and to tour San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. At the age of 85, she spent three weeks in Southern Spain with family, swimming, walking on the beach and, perched on her beachfront balcony, watching the boats go by. She loved waterfront vacations on the Maine coast, and just before her death spent the week in Georgetown on vacation with her daughter, Judy. Three days before her stroke, many of our family enjoyed her wonderful presence at a party in Deer Isle. She made us all laugh, and we loved to tell our funny "Shirley stories". She was a good sport and always laughed along.
Shirley welcomed all of her family into her home whenever one wanted to visit or stay over. Neighbors or friends were always welcome. Her son, Doug, and her daughter, Judy, both living out of state, would often come to stay with her. Her son, Gordon, would visit on his trips through town from Deer Isle. Her brothers and extended family would always visit when nearby. Little or no notice ever mattered to her. She always had something to offer, including the best oatmeal raisin cookies proudly made with her mother's recipe. Her favorite TV shows included Columbo, Monk, Hawaii Five-O, and all the British comedies and mysteries. She loved to read and always had a book going, although she had to rely on audio books in the last few years.
Shirley Stewart ("Mom", "Grammie", "Mimi") was an exceptionally kind, strong and giving person who loved and cared for all of her family and friends. She always thought of others ahead of her own needs. Remarkably, Shirley never spoke negatively of anyone, other than in politics. She lived a very healthy life, exercised regularly, kept informed, was highly intelligent and ever curious intellectually, and remained sharp-minded till the end. She was especially proud of her independence, and always looked for the best in everyone. We will all remember vividly her tremendous spirit and optimistic view of life.
She is survived by her four children, Judith Stewart Cosenza of Avon, Conn., Gordon Stewart and his wife, Dawn, of Deer Isle, Nancy Stewart Cloutier and her husband, Robert, of Bath, and Douglas Stewart and his wife, Debra, of Keene, N.H.; her 14 grandchildren, Matthew and Marcus Cosenza of Avon, Conn., J. Gordon Stewart and his wife, Zornitsa, of Athens, Ohio, Meredith Stewart of Chadds Ford, Pa., W. Harding Stewart and his wife, Birdy, of Berkeley, Calif., Cameron, Cole and Ross Stewart of Deer Isle, Kristin Cloutier of Yarmouth, Nicole Cloutier Leopin and her husband, Casey, of Topsham, Andrew Cloutier and his fiancé, Jocelynn, of Brunswick, Nathan Cloutier of Brunswick, and Erin and Emma Stewart of Brattleboro, Vt.; her three great-grandchildren, Boden and Violet Leopin of Topsham, and James Stewart of Athens, Ohio; her four brothers, Lee Smith and his wife, Joan, of Seattle, Wash., Barry Smith of Portland, Jeffrey Smith and his wife, Betsy, of Swanville, and Judson Smith and his wife, Becky, of Portland, plus many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Funeral services will be held at Desmond Funeral Home, 638 High Street, Bath, beginning with a wake on Friday, Aug. 3 from 4-6 p.m. and a funeral service at noon on Saturday, Aug. 4. All are welcome to join the reception beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Shirley's beloved church, the Neighborhood United Church of Christ, 798 Washington St., Bath.
Gifts in memory of Shirley can be made in the name of the Neighborhood United
Church of Christ.
Neighborhood United Church of Christ
798 Washington Street, Bath ME 04530