Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Dad - Calvin Douglas Stewart

I have been wanting to write up some memories of my dad. I love this photo of him when he was a teenager - he's so handsome! My dad passed away the night before Kallie's baby shower. We were in Boise watching Jayna's kids for 10 day while they were in Europe. To say it was bad timing is an understatement. I couldn't go to Oregon but I had said my goodbyes the last time I saw him in Cave Junction. And I knew he was going to a much much happier place so that helped. My mom, Jon and Dane were there and it was a relief to know that he did not die alone thinking noone cared for him.

Calvin Douglas Stewart, passed away peacefully on September 20, 2013 in Portland, Oregon.
Calvin Douglas Stewart was born December 30, 1931 in Oakley, Cassia County, Idaho, the second child of John Calvin Stewart and Thea Mae Butler. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Michael Stewart. His surviving siblings are: Joan Stewart, Paul Stewart, and Lynn Stewart. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Doug as he was known to family and friends spent the first few years of his life growing up on a small farm in Kimberly, Idaho. His mother said, “it was a great place for kids to play and grow”. They swam in the canal and river, built sand castles on the sandy beach at a bend in the river, watched their dad, placer mine for gold, and watched birds lay eggs and hatch into baby birds. It was here at the age of 5 that my dad contracted Polio and almost died. Instead of laying in bed as the Dr. recommended he would drag himself to the canal and swim. Later his mother credited that with saving his life. My dad was always very determined in whatever he did.

Grandma Thea stated that my dad was a cute little boy and always treated everyone real well. He would invite people for dinner who no one else would have in their home. He looked out for those less fortunate. When he had money he liked to buy presents for others. He bought his mother her first wristwatch.
Dad lived in many places, but namely, Kimberly, Idaho, Hansen, Idaho, Murtaugh, Idaho and Vanport, Oregon where his father was a carpenter for war housing and a ship builder. 

He grew up farming and mining. Dad only had a 10th grade education but was very knowledgeable in all aspects of farming, mining and salvaging and he could fix anything. He kept cars and washing machines running.

Dad had a 1957 red & white Ford convertible with red leather seats that was his pride and joy. He drove it in the parade each year. They sold it when they realized it was not compatible with 3 young children!

On January 30th, 1959 Dad married my mom, Nacele Johnson in the Logan, Utah temple. They had 8 children: (me) Sherry Stewart Crandall, Jon Douglas Stewart, Robert Dane Stewart, Dartha Valerie Stewart Willes, Glory Krista Stewart, Justin Eric Stewart, Alexia Dawn Stewart, Tyson Kurtis Stewart. We settled in Hammett, Idaho where most of us were raised. We paid $1,200 for the land that already had the well, septic and electricity on it. Our house was actually 2 units that my dad got at a Gov auction for $435. Dad and mom remodeled the whole thing themselves and made it into one house.

Dad loved to go fishing, and spent many hours in the Bruneau Canyon/River, he farmed, salvaged, mined for gold and other minerals, and loved to play pinochle. He taught all of us kids to play when we were in grade school and we would play at every opportunity! 

Dad always worked for himself. He couldn't stand to work for someone else. Dad farmed beans and potatoes. He was very fussy about the rows – they had to be perfect - straight and even with no weeds. I remember pulling night shade from the beans and setting siphon tubes. I hated weeding. I remember dad teaching Jon and Dane to drive truck when they were very young and they both helped out a lot. 

Dad got the government bid to dismantle the Grandview, Idaho Missile Site, the Baker, Oregon Radar Site and the Hebo, Oregon Radar site. Our family spent many adventurous summers with no running water or electricity. We used to bathe in the creek on Saturday nights so we could go to church on Sunday in Baker City. We had a three wheeler that we rode everywhere. At night we would listen to the battery powered radio and play cards by lamp light. We usually had cousins working for us in the Summers so that was always fun.

We had a fun summer farming at Murphy Flat. We had 4 older cousins plus a friend staying with us for the summer and there was always some adventure going on. We went to the Nampa Stampede and got to see 'Festus' and 'Doc'. A favorite childhood memory! My dad always kind of reminded me me of Festus.  
We always ate dinner together as a family – eating mostly what mom canned, her fresh baked bread, and whatever we grew in our garden. Dad would trade something he had salvaged for meat. We grew up watching westerns and never missed Gunsmoke and Bonanza. 

My dad had the biggest appetite for such a small man. He loved to eat! I don't think there was anything he wouldn't try. I get my love of food from him :) Most of his life he only weighed 135 lbs. Two of his favorite foods were salmon and ice cream.

There were times when we didn't have much money, but somehow we got along. We always had a pretty nice car to drive (which ran on fumes and my mother's prayers) and a nice color TV (one with an antenna that we moved depending which of the 3 channels we wanted to watch). 

My childhood was anything but ordinary to say the least but I wouldn't trade it for anything. At the time of his death my dad had 23 grandkids and 19 great grandkids and he had lived at least 19 lives (as my brother Jon counts). I love you Daddy. Sherry


1 comment:

glory said...

Sherry thank you so much for writing this! There were so many things that I actually didn't even know about my own Dad, and it was so great to hear of things from your perspective. Love!!!