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M. L. Stewart

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Mary Louise (Barrett) Stewart, 92, long-time Lexington resident died peacefully at her home in Brunswick, Maine, on July 6. She was 92. Mrs. Stewart, born in Bellevue, Penn., was an accomplished musician and ocean sailor. With her husband, Herbert F. Stewart, who died in 2003, she last sailed from the Caribbean to Maine at age 77. The Stewarts were married for 60 years. For close to a third of that time, they lived aboard Kyeri, a 40-foot wooden sailboat without refrigeration or hot water. The couple sailed twice to Tahiti and circumnavigated from 1978 to 1981. They were joined on various legs of their voyages by their five children, all of whom survive her: Thomas of Coraopolis, Penn.; Douglas of Ipswich, Mass.; Andrew of Palo Alto, Cal.; Catherine Robie of Freeport, Maine; and Bruce of Malden, Mass. A skilled string player since her days as concertmistress of the Wellesley College orchestra (class of '42), Mrs. Stewart routinely traveled with a violin. In the cities and ports she visited, she enjoyed playing in impromptu chamber-music quartets hosted by local musicians. At sea, her unflappable work ethic was a source of wonder. Between watches on deck, she cooked meals on a gimbal-mounted stove that stayed level when the boat heeled. In heavy weather, she worked with the aid of a strap tied behind her. In Lexington, Mrs. Stewart belonged to the Concord Orchestra. She was an active member of Cambridge Friends Meeting and was a fixture at weekly "peace vigils" on the Battle Green in the 1960s. Prior to taking up the sailing life in the early 1970s, the Stewarts camped in house trailers around the U.S. and Europe. Before and after spending the 1963-1964 school year in Turkey, where Mr. Stewart taught business management at the University of Istanbul, the family pulled a 20-foot house trailer from London to Istanbul and back. After moving ashore some 20 years ago, the couple divided their time between Cambridge, Mass., and Stuart, Florida. In Maine, she played viola in the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra until she was 88. In addition to her children, she is survived by her sister Dorothy DeCarlo of Manhattan and six grandchildren. Plans for a memorial celebration have not been set. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice Care, 60 Baribeau Dr., Brunswick ME 04011.

Published in The Lexington Minuteman from July 11 to July 18, 2013
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