A couple of weeks ago, an editor for the Ohlone College Monitor newspaper requested that we write a tribute about Stewart, so they could publish it on the semester’s first edition. It represents how all of us think about Stew, and some personal points of view about Stew as well. The article I submitted is below, and the actual article in the newspaper published on January 24, 2011 is on the link at the end.
Stewart Dawson was not just a coworker to us, he was a great friend, and some of us even considered him a brother. Stewart was very genuinely caring, funny, extremely smart, and loved all people and especially all animals.
Stewart had this amazing ability to make you feel you were special whenever you talked to him. He was there to lend an ear if you needed to talk and would go out of his way to protect you if he saw you were being treated unfairly. He would know about you on your first meeting and was able to recall your life without a problem. He could also make you laugh by changing the lyrics to songs to make them fit a particular situation, and could recite his version of movie quotes at a moment’s notice. At times, he would make you laugh at his own expense, and he didn’t seem to mind that because he knew he was making you happy. It is not surprising that you ended up loving him so much that you would consider him one of your closest friends in a short period of time, as was the case with so many of us.
Stewart was also extremely smart. By his own admission, he had a photographic memory, which comes in very helpful in the law enforcement field. He would remember vehicles, license plates, or persons he came into contact with after just one or two times. He would even remember people he saw on television. We teased him several times at his ability to remember things so quickly and clearly even if several years had passed by. Whenever I would make a comment about his memory, he would always say that I could have his type of memory if I practiced hard, but I am still unable to achieve it.
Most importantly, Stewart loved all people and animals. No matter where you went, Stewart knew somebody. He would see someone across the parking lot and say, “Hey, I know him. I’ll be right back.” He would start talking to the person he recognized even if it meant that the person didn’t remember him, but he would carry on the conversation until that person finally remembered him. We would always joke around by saying, “Who doesn’t he (Stewart) know?” because he truly knew just about everyone.
His love for animals was bigger than anything else. If there was a creature roaming around the campus (it didn’t matter which campus it was), he could tell you everything about it. He had no problems handling tarantulas because he said they were really gentle creatures and that at one point; he had one as a pet. He also had no problems dealing with cranes, rattlesnakes, ducks, squirrels, deer, horses, bats, or cows to name a few. With each animal he came into contact with, you got a lesson from him about the animal even if you hadn’t requested the “extra” knowledge. I had nicknamed him “Nature Boy” because of all these things and he took pride when I would call him by that name, especially after the animal lesson of the day.
It is rare to find someone like Stewart and this little tribute does not pay justice to the type of person he was. For that, we would need the entire newspaper. We all are lucky if we meet just one “Stew” in our lifetime because you are meeting true genuineness and love. We were lucky to have had him be part of our lives because he was truly, bigger than life.
And here’s the link to the Ohlone College Monitor newspaper article.