ERIE - Ronald Lee Stewart, of 5450 Cider Mill Road, Erie Homes for Children and Adults, passed away Monday (Aug. 22, 2016) at UPMC Hamot.
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Ronnie was born on Nov. 1, 1961, in Bradford, and was the son of the late Lacy Jr. and Jane Lois Skillman Stewart.
Ronnie's life was full of challenges from his very first breath until his last. His entrance into the world was extremely difficult. The damage he suffered was beyond repair. As life would have it, his vocabulary was short-lived, and never more than mama and dada. He'd never sit up by himself, throw a ball, or walk to home plate. For 54 years, his life consisted of seizures, medications, and nursing homes, and of course, the love we had for him. Our mother was heart-broken when she was forced to give him up at the delicate age of seven. She'd been promised that he'd return someday, but fate wouldn't have it that way.
As children, we were awakened on many occasions to the phone ringing and the sound of our mother crying. Ronnie had died again, or he was in need of another emergency surgery. We grew to know and love our brother through the tears of our mother. Even though he'd never play a game of kickball with us, or sit at our dinner table, he was never far from our hearts and minds. Ronnie's struggles created tenderness in each one of us; out of his eight siblings, two of us went into nursing, and one into full-time ministry. We became a family of caretakers.
His death doesn't leave us in despair though, because our hope and faith in Christ comforts us. We are confident that he has finally begun to live. He is with our father, mother, and grandmother now, talking, laughing, and walking hand in hand with them.
He is survived by eight siblings; Rickey Jr. Stewart of Portville, N.Y., Daniel R. Stewart of Hobe Sound, Fla., Barbara A. Stewart of Lewis Run, Catherine J. Lata of Jamestown, N.Y., Richard E. Stewart of Hobe Sound, Fla.., Susan M. Silvis of Portville, N.Y., Janie L. Bennett of Portville, N.Y., and Lacy Stewart of Smethport. Ronnie is also survived by several aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and many, many cousins.
He was predeceased by his father, Lacy Jr. Stewart in 1982 and his mother, Jane Lois Stewart, in 1990.
Ronnie's soul is free now. Free from the bondage of his limitations and the chair in which he spent his life. Therefore, as we gather to celebrate his life on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Willow Dale Cemetery in Bradford, we will not be saying goodbye, but instead with the words, "We will see you when our own journey is complete." We love you Ronnie, and may heaven be your reward. The Rev. Mark A. Lata, his brother-in-law, will officiate.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home, Inc., #646 E. State St., Olean, N.Y. Online condolences may be made at www.LetroMcIntoshSpinkFuneralHome.com
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Erie Homes for Children and Adults, #5450 Cider Mill Road, Erie, PA 16509.
Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home Inc
646 E State St
Olean, NY 14760
Published in The Bradford Era from Aug. 25 to Aug. 31, 2016