I first had the privilege of meeting Captain John Stewart of Island Roots back in early 2012 while island hopping with another charter. I remember him as being a kind, gentle soul who found humor in my playful teasing throughout the day, as I suggested he and his guests engage in a “fun off” with my boat captain, my husband and I. I have fond memories of that day in which I spent time bouncing around the British Virgin Islands with the indelible Captain John Stewart.
Sadly I received word back in May that Captain John was sick and that he was leaving the island and returning to Maine. Earlier today, I learned of his passing. St. John lost a good man this past weekend, a good man that should not be forgotten.
The following is an excerpt from Captain John’s obituary:
John R. Stewart, 62, of South Bristol, and Coral Bay, St. John USVI, passed away June 30, just seven weeks after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Despite the terrible odds, John met the challenge with all the fortitude and preparation that one would expect from a boat captain, and with the frankness, work ethic and good humor his friends and family knew and loved.
John’s life started inland, in Rochester, N.H., but soon moved to York, where he fell in love with the ocean and a blonde, blue-eyed beauty, two years his senior, when he was just 15. Marcia was instantly charmed by his smile and his infectious verve for life – not to mention his gifted guitar playing.
After John graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UNH with a degree in biological sciences, and Marcia attained her art degree from Syracuse University, they married and made their living in a variety of creative ways, choosing to raise their family in South Bristol so John could study at the Darling Marine Center. Their lives were rich and full of music, boating, laughter and good friends, with John always dreaming of what could be next.
His career path was winding, opportunistic and ambitious, including marine biologist, commercial SCUBA diver, oyster farmer, seafood processor, garden center and greenhouse (Holly Hill) owner, flower shop (Cottage Gardens) owner, horticulturist, arborist, stone mason and landscaper – with Marcia his partner in life and business at every step of the way. John’s most cherished occupation came in recent years when he became a charter boat captain in the Virgin Islands, taking passengers out in his vessel, Island Roots, for snorkeling and sightseeing. His dry wit, easy smile and expertise made him a natural.
His favorite things were working alongside his family on the homes they built in St. John and Louds Island, sailing with his wife, and enjoying and exploring the wonders of the natural world.
John is survived by his wife, Marcia; daughter, Erica; son, Sam; mother, Helen; son-in-law, Lance; daughter-in-law, Amanda; three grandsons; and their many loving family and friends.
Memories can be shared at www.islandrootsusvi.com/
A small gathering will be held on Louds Island, followed by a celebration of his life on Sat., Aug. 3 in Maine, and in St. John at a later date.