1943 ~ 2013
Polly Stewart died February 3 in Salt Lake City of intestinal cancer.
She was born July 27, 1943 SLC to Justin and Martha Stewart. A brilliant girl, she attended Wm. M. Stewart School, East High, and University of Utah, taking part in plays and musical productions and developing abilities as a folksinger. Married Charles Deemer, Eugene, Oregon, 1966, later divorced. She earned her PhD at the University of Oregon, the first graduate student of Barre Tolkien. A specialist in Medieval studies and folklore, Polly taught at Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD for 30 years, with a particular interest in oral history, urban legends and comparative myth. Polly worked with undergraduates to form the first LGBT student group on campus. Her significant work in the fields of folklore, feminism and local history is documented in a series of works she edited, essays, articles, monographs and book and journal reviews. She enjoyed travel, notably to Iceland, the U.K. and Vietnam. Polly returned to Salt Lake City in 2004 to enjoy her retirement. In 2006, inspired by reminiscences with folk singer Utah Phillips, she spearheaded the Urban Pioneers 1960's Folk Music Revival Concert, a Utah Humanities Council granted-funded project which also interviews local folk musicians, notably Rosalie Sorrels, Utah Phillips, Polly and the Valley Boys, Hal Cannon and many others. This delightful project has is being archived, soon to be available online. Polly supported the activities of Utah Pride Center, American Folklore Society, Salisbury University Nabb Research Center, Salisbury University Wildfowl Museum, University of Utah School of Humanities, University of Oregon Folklore Program, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU of Utah, Human Right Campaign, and Unitarian Universalists. She was a member of the Salt Lake Choral Society with a stellar soprano voice. Polly was a lode star and mentor to countless people in the Gay Pride and AA communities. Survivors include Kate Miller, daughter; Geoffrey and Annie, grandson and granddaughter; brother, Peter Stewart, Seattle; sister and brother-in-law, Heather and Mike Dorrell, Salt Lake City.
Memorial service, March 17th, 2-4 p.m., First Unitarian Church, 569 South 1300 East, SLC. "Now sleep the crimson petal, now the white" - Tennyson. Rest well.
Published in Deseret News from Feb. 8 to Feb. 9, 2013.