June 20, 2020
A man with many titles: husband and Papa, Captain Curly and Magnificent Bastard, Chris Stewart of Port McNeill passed away on Saturday June 20th.
Chris was born in Claresholm, Alberta, in 1955 to mom Beryl (Buddy) and father Doug, an air force pilot. With his parents and sisters Robynne and Rilla, Chris moved to bases across Canada, France and Germany before attending high school in Brampton, Ontario. Known then as “Kit,” he played football, worked as a lifeguard and developed a tight circle of friends.
In 1973 Chris tagged along with a friend who was applying to the RCMP. Although the friend wasn’t accepted that day, a recruiter chatted to Chris in the waiting room, marking the beginning of an incredible 36-year career. Stationed in Ontario, Alberta, Northwest Territories and BC, Chris worked on the undercover drug unit for ten years, inspiring his most colourful stories.
Chris and Karen’s shared story began with a chance encounter at the Legion in Frobisher Bay, NWT, in 1983. A few months later, Karen left Ontario to be with her Mountie in Yellowknife. They married there in 1985 and then moved to the high arctic community of Resolute Bay, NWT, where daughter Megan was born. Further transfers and promotions eventually brought them to Port McNeill on Vancouver Island.
Retiring from the RCMP in 2010 as a Staff Sergeant, Chris reinvented himself, growing long hair and a beard and decorating his arm with his first tattoo: an angel. Last year he built on that theme, enduring many hours in the creation of a complete arm sleeve of the Bible. Quiet in his faith, he lived his life by the highest morals.
Chris was always involved with the community. He was a member of the Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Port McNeill, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #281, St. John Gualbert Church and Masonic Rainbow Lodge #180. He also loved donning his Shriner’s fez and riding his go-cart in parades.
Post-retirement gigs included his role as a water taxi captain for Silver King Ventures. “Captain Curly” loved every hour out on the water, regaling guests with his vast knowledge of local marine life.
Every Wednesday afternoon for the past six years Chris and friends met down in the dude room for Texas Hold’em. The “Magnificent Bastards” spent many happy hours solving the problems of the world.
Chris was diagnosed with cancer in January. The first thing he did after returning home from the doctor’s office was look up cancer jokes online. It became his mission to make people smile at the cancer clinic.
Chris was a voracious reader and enjoyed lively debate, loud music, riding his Harley and occasionally a wee shnick of single malt scotch. His salty language and consummate storytelling skills could enthrall a crowd. And he gave the best hugs.
If you ever told Chris you couldn’t do something, he’d make you list all the reasons why not, and he’d knock them down to the basics: “What’s the very worst thing that would happen if you failed?” He was a supporter of entrepreneurship and further education and a mentor to many.
Left behind to carry on Chris’s legacy are his wife of 35 years, Karen, daughter Megan Hodgson (Justin), grandsons Bowen and twins Mace and Emmett, sisters Robynne Daust and Rilla Hickman (Chris), cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and a grandnephew.
Karen and Megan are grateful for the love and support of family, friends and community. Special thanks to Dr. Armogam, Dr. Mijares and the staff at the Port McNeill Hospital as well as earth angels Keira and Bree from Palliative Care and all the home care aides.
Chris was a huge fan of the Rotary Trail. Memorial contributions may be made to the trail c/o Rotary Club of Port McNeill, Box 1148, Port McNeill, BC, V0N 2R0
Condolences can be sent to the family at: www.telfordtoneffboyd.ca
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