Jan 11th 1943 - Apr 24th 2012
There were many things that made Steve Stewart so well loved in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. Perhaps it was his lovable ways, or his personable nature which drew others to his side. A jack-of-all-trades, he was a master of a few which made him the go-to guy on more than one occasion. He could be quite the character, and always brought warmth and laughter to those around him. Most importantly, Steve was a hard working, selfless man who led his children by example. He taught them well, and shared everything he knew with them. Deeply missed, he will be long remembered.
World War II was on everyone's hearts and minds in 1943. With young servicemen overseas, women entered the work force to the count of nearly 18 million. After America's involvement in the war, manufacturers from coast to coast became just as efficient producing bombs, aircraft engines, and war vehicles as they had consumer goods. The entertainment industry was the only relief during these heavy hearted times, yet the American spirit remained ever strong. With much taking place in the world around them, one young couple from Decatur, Michigan had much to be thankful for. On January 11, 1943, Fred and Margurite (Thomas) Stewart celebrated the New Year with the arrival of their son, whom they lovingly named, Stephen Eugene.
Raised alongside his siblings, Betty, Adabelle, Fred, Marvin and Doris, Steve's father worked for Yerington Construction in Benton Harbor while his mother cleaned houses for a living. Steve experienced an enjoyable childhood for the times, and enjoyed playing sports with friends, especially baseball and football. After attending the local schools, he went on to attend Decatur High School.
Soon after completing his educational years, however, Steve married Kathy Carmody. Although their marriage eventually ended, he was thankful for the three wonderful children who came from their union.
Steve had been down on his luck in recent days, but a chance meeting in a local parking lot led him to Marylyn Chabitch, the woman with whom he would come to share his heart and life. Being the personable guy he was, she caught his eye while he was pulling into the lot and he asked her to walk over and talk to him. Thinking he was pretty straightforward in asking that of her, she responded by telling him to walk over to where she was as his legs weren't broke or anything. Little did she know at that moment Steve was sitting behind the car door with a broken leg! Indeed, his luck was about to change.
Over the following months, Steve and Marylyn thoroughly enjoyed getting to know one another. They shared much in common and fell deeply in love. On November 13, 1968, they became husband and wife. Close to opening day of deer hunting, they spent a very memorable honeymoon doing just that . . . deer hunting! One of the greatest days of Steve's life was the surprise party their children gave them for their 25th wedding anniversary.
Along with his three children, he and Marylyn blended their lives together with the addition of two more children in their lives to love. Steve was exceptionally blessed and was a great father. Family life was very important in their home, as was love and respect for one another. These qualities were clearly shown and demonstrated in their daily lives together. Steve loved teaching his kids about things, and always included the girls and eventual grandchildren. He taught them how to not only do and fix things, but also shared matters of the heart, life lessons, and simply all he possibly could. He was a wonderful teacher and possessed a patience all his own.
There are few who can say they love their work, but Steve absolutely enjoyed going to the shop each day. He held his customers in the highest regard, and truly appreciated their business. He worked, and worked hard his entire life, and it paid off in 1972 when he bought the body repair shop he worked at since 1967. As the owner of Steve's Body Shop, it was his greatest joy taking care of his customers. Always willing to lend a hand, he sincerely loved helping people. He was very compassionate, especially toward animals. Even if it meant stopping in the middle of the road, he would do it just to help a turtle cross the road.
Over the years Steve enjoyed memberships with the Eagles, Elks and the VFW in Marcellus. He liked a good game of golf, enjoyed fishing, and liked remodeling houses, but in all he did, he enjoyed it all the more in the company of others. He rarely met a stranger, and when he did, they became fast friends.
There were many things that made Steve Stewart special in the hearts of others. Clearly a people person, he had a way about him that drew others in. His character spoke volumes for his integrity in all facets of his life. It was disheartening in December of last year when he was diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, at the age of 69, Steve died in the comfort of home on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 surrounded by his family. Gone but never to be forgotten, his legacy lives on in the many ways he taught his children and grandchildren, whom he loved deeply and completely.
Steve married his soul mate, Marylyn Chabitch, and she survives him along with their children: Scott (Michelle) Chabitch of Kalamazoo, Dianna (Mike) Freels of Waterford, Sherrie Sutton of Bellevue, Stephen Bradley Stewart and Terrie (Nelson) Profitt, both of Decatur; grandchildren: Derrick and Justin Freels, Michael and Stephanie Profitt, Robyn and Mindy Neuhaus, and Sean Sutton Jr.; great-grandchildren: Jalynn Wright, Tessa and Tricha Bienz; his siblings: Adabelle Verreke, Fred (Betty) Stewart, Marvin Stewart, and Doris (Pat) Abiney; several beloved nieces, nephews and special niece, Faye (Harold) Hunsbuger. He was preceded in death by his sister, Betty Kidd. Learn more about Steve and visit with his family and friends while sharing refreshments Friday, April 27, 2012 from 4:00-8:00 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (657-3870). Funeral Services will be held Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM (High Noon) at the same location. Please visit Steve’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory, photo and sign his online guest book before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice at Home.