Stuart, Michael E.
Sep. 1, 1949 - Jan. 4, 2013
Michael E. Stuart, beloved husband of Connie and proud, devoted father of Haley and Dillon, set sail for distant shores Jan. 4, 2013. He is survived by brother, Bryan (Carolyn), half-sister, aunt, several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Michael was born in Bemidji, MN, to Elaine and Byron Stuart. He grew up in Minneapolis, earned degrees at University of Minnesota
and Florida State University, and did additional graduate work at The University of Texas
. Michael's professional life was dedicated to education and environmental concerns.
He began teaching Marine Biology at Sarasota High School in 1970, where he conceived and designed the Carefree Learner, a floating classroom. With help from student and community volunteers, his dream came true. Since 1978, 175,000 students and adults have learned about marine life in Sarasota Bay. It continues to serve the schools and community (from its dock at Marina Jack), as a symbol of Michael's passion for education and his concern for the marine environment.
A gifted teacher, who in his 36-year career, touched the lives of thousands of young people -- hundreds who went with him to the Keys to experience the beauty of coral reefs--all of them called him "Mr. Stuart." He was teaching chemistry, a childhood fascination, when he retired in 2006. Thereafter, he helped coach his daughter's soccer team, was a leader for his son's Boy Scout troupe, volunteered in local schools, and traveled with his family.
Michael enjoyed life. His Aunt Arlys said, "He was determined to get his slice of the pie in life." He loved planning adventures, sailing, scuba diving, camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, traveling, or working in his garden. He enjoyed listening to music, learning classical guitar, tailgating and spending time with cherished friends; who, along with his loving family will always remember Michael, his energy and enthusiasm for life.
A celebration of Michael's life will take place at Marina Jack on Sun. Jan. 27 at 2 pm.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be sent to the Carefree Learner, Guitar Sarasota, or the