Michael E. Stewart was born on April 21, 1968, in Missoula, MT. After just a few months, the family moved to
Running Springs, CA, where he enjoyed the first two years of his life living near his paternal grandparents. His Grandma Stewart insisted he “looked just like a little Dutch boy” with his blue eyes and blond hair.
The family then moved back to Montana and eventually settled in Missoula, where Michael, and his mother, Thea, found a safe haven with Thea’s parents.
Michael so loved his Grandpa Ben and Grandma Sally. They represented a stable and consistently loving family where he could relax and feel a little more confident to venture out to enjoy his boyhood.
Michael worked along with his Grandpa, learning some auto mechanics, while taking time out to camp out at Rock Creek and Rainy Lake, their favorite spots. They also enjoyed trail riding through the woods and backroads “just to see where this one goes,” as Grandpa said.
Grandma was his daily dear friend and she never gave up showing Michael about the promises that the Bible holds out.
At this point, his mother, Thea, was working to support the family, but they never tired of heading to Maclay Flats for a walk around the loop.
Michael had a love of gardening (from Grandma), enjoyed cooking, playing pool (with Grandpa), reading, playing some video games, and had been a fan of NASCAR (in the “old days”), basketball and football.
He completed high school at Hellgate and followed with a diesel mechanics course at the Vo-Tech. He also completed a course at H&R Block, where he was invited to “join the team.”
He had a deep regard for the Bible, helping his grandpa do chores at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, counting out literature, testing water quality, changing bulbs, etc. He also went to his mother’s office where he gathered trash and did various other small tasks. Not many knew of these activities since his preferred to “work behind the scenes” so to speak.
Life became somber with the deaths of his beloved Grandpa, and then Grandma. A deep sadness engulfed him; it never lifted.
After his mother’s retirement, they were able to quietly enjoy going to the library, picnicking at the Fort, and taking walks again. He knew of his mother’s love of the Bible and their now-regular studies became a big part of his life. He was careful to remind her of their study times (if she seemed to forget) and reading the Bible through from the beginning was a goal they both shared. He was concerned that she especially remain faithful so that she would see Grandpa and Grandma again on the Paradise earth. They often reviewed scriptures such as Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Psalm 37:29. Although he often felt unworthy, he loved the Truth.
He was eager to help his mother recover after three serious surgeries during her retirement. He took over shopping chores and helped with personal care. At the end of his life, his wishes were that she should “take care of herself.”
Michael fought a battle with anorexia nervosa for some 11 years at the last of his life. No therapy or treatment would help more than temporarily. He finally became so weak that hospitalization became necessary. He was offered medical care that violated his conscience and when asked repeatedly, would not compromise his stand, even though death was said to be inevitable without it.
Michael’s life ended all too soon on October 3, 2022, at St. Patrick Hospital. He will be missed terribly until we see him in God’s Paradise. Excellent and loving, compassionate care by Fifth Floor staff made the heartbreaking situation more bearable. There were shared tears, many hugs, and gentle touches.
He is survived by his mother, Thea Stewart, his aunt Janice Urquhart, and Great Aunt Juanita Winter, as well as many cousins.
Arrangements are under the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home and Crematory in Missoula.