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Richard E. (Dick) Stewart
Surrounded by family and friends, and with fly fishing rod in hand, Dick peacefully accepted the hand of his Lord and the doggie kisses of his recently departed Labrador retriever, Sassy, as he embraced eternal life Monday evening, October 21, 2013, at the young age of 69.
Born in San Francisco to William and Mary Jane Stewart, he spent his youth in the central valley graduating from East Bakersfield High School. Uncle Sam called during his college years and Dick was fortunate to spend his entire two years in the Army in Wurzburg, Germany. Upon returning, he re-joined Bank of America where he had held part-time jobs while attending college. In the early 80's, Dick moved to Salinas to head the Salinas Valley Commercial Banking Group for a decade before his final position in Sacramento in the Governmental Services Unit led to his retirement in 1995.
Dick was involved in numerous civic and service organizations, volunteered extensively and mentored untold numbers of individuals in the course of his life. Memberships included Rotary International where he met and hosted his foreign exchange German daughter, Saskia; the Monterey Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America where he was a century donor; board memberships at Special Olympics and Natividad Medical Center; Meals on Wheels, Salinas Valley Fly Fishers, Fly Fishing Buds, Lockwood Pheasant Club and First Presbyterian Church.
Dick's passion for fly fishing took him to Canada, Christmas Island, Belize, Patagonia (where he honeymooned), Florida, and the entire Western US including numerous trips to Alaska fishing for salmon and trout while camping alongside the bears and rivers. He always said "it's not totally about the fish; it's where you find them".
He is survived by his wife, Alison; sons, Richard and Todd; granddaughter, Ally; "adopted" daughter, Saskia; his loyal bird dog, Bull, and his 94 year old mother-in-law, Elva Eastwood, with whom he enjoyed giving and receiving many practical jokes over decades.
An end of summer soirée with friends was co-hosted September 28, 2013 along with his long time fishing buddy Bill (Doc) Barbee at which time food and libations were shared, stories told, and friendships renewed. No other formal services are planned.
The family wishes to thank Dick's good friend and neighbor, Rick Gavin, for his assistance in caring for Dick during his final days; the staffs of Pacific Cancer Care and Stanford Cancer Clinics, especially Dr. Peyman Haghighat and Dr. Russell Pachynski; and the staffs of Central Coast Hospice including nurses Lael, Mary and Shannon for their many kindnesses and compassionate care.
Cremation is under the direction of Healey Mortuary.
Donations in Dick's memory may be made to Central Coast Hospice, Cal Trout, or the donor's favorite charity.
Published in The Salinas Californian from Oct. 25 to Oct. 29, 2013