Gilbert Clarke Beverly “Bev” was born at home on Sunday, October 26, 1941 to David and Bella “Hazel” (Yeo) Steward. He was the baby of the family with older siblings; Roderick (1918), Harold (1920), Carl (1926) and sister Alvera (1929). World War II soon began and Bev's three brothers all enrolled and participated in the war. Rod drove truck, Harold was a sniper and Carl was a prison guard. Luckily, all of his brothers survived and returned home. Childhood also meant lots of free time for Bev whereby he always enjoyed getting out on the rink, either skating or playing hockey.
After attending Chesley Public School Bev decided that further education was not in his cards and he began working at the creamery in town. He was young, early teens, and one of his daily duties included testing the butter. This task caused Bev to have a real distaste for butter for the remainder of his life, imagine! Due to his age, Bev needed permission from the school board to begin his second job at Krugs. After beginning as a general labourer, Bev soon started as a sawyer. His wage, $0.63 per hour. He cut green lumber, primarily maple, and soon perfected the twenty-eight different cuts needed to produce all types of furniture.
In his teenage years, Bev was introduced to a beautiful young woman by the name of Reta Winnifred May McGilveary. They soon began dating and in 1963 they started building their future home. Together they borrowed $5,000 and went to work, spending most of their free evenings and weekends gathering materials and working on their home. The two were married at Chesley Baptist Church on July 24, 1965 and soon headed west on their honeymoon. Later that year they completed their home and settled into married life.
Bev loved his cars! To say he spent a lot of time polishing them would be an under-statement. Reta recalls countless Saturdays whereby Bev spent all day cleaning the car, only to take it out on the town that evening. He was a proud member of the "Pacemaker's Car Club" and simply adored his black 1953 Ford Meteor. When not tinkering with his own cars, Bev loved taking in stock car races. On Wednesday evenings, he and Reta would often head to Bridgeport for the races. Saturday nights were usually spent in Wasaga Beach, whereby the Stewards often took in some form of race, usually stock car or horse. They were often joined by friends and family in these outings which usually meant for late nights! In recent years, Bev enjoyed taking in horse races in Hanover and heading to Sauble to watch Josh Stade compete. When not able to attend these races in person, no problem, Bev subscribed to the racing network on TV and simply watched everything from the comfort of his own home.
In 1970, Bev and Reta welcomed their daughter, Heather Darlene, thus beginning a new chapter in their lives. Bev loved spending time with Heather. His fishing boat was soon named "Miss Heather" and the two spent countless hours enjoying each others company as they trolled for Pike and Bass. Snowmobiling with Heather and Reta was another enjoyable pastime as was cross country skiing.
Thirty-three years after he began, Krugs closed. Bev then went to work for Duane Stade at M.E.I. Bev recalled that at that point they only had two trucks and a backhoe, so there was a lot more physical labour. :) Bev's body was slowly beginning to wear out, especially his knees, and he soon moved onto the Pallett Factory in Scone where he remained until his retirement in 2005.
Retirement meant that Bev could spend more time with friends and family, particularly his two grandchildren Kameran and Logan, who the family welcomed in 2002. The twins spent countless hours being entertained by grandpa. Sometimes it was as simple as riding with him on the lawnmower or shovelling snow, however they also played cars and went fishing together. Reta and Bev also volunteered regularly at Kameran and Logan's school, spending valuable time weekly with their grandchildren. Bev was also particularly fond of his four-legged family members, Titan, Zeus (the dogs), Baby, Pumpkin and Tiny (the cats). The love, respect and companionship was always mutual.
Bev was a gentle, loving man who always put others first. He was extremely sociable and loved spending time with family and friends. In his free time, Bev loved going for drives and enjoying nature. When not tinkering on a car or fixing something, Bev also enjoyed watching the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush and The Young and the Restless.... yes, you read that right! When it came to food, his favourite meal was steak, onions and french fries. He also had a soft spot for homemade rice pudding (with raisins of course), vanilla ice cream, vanilla milkshakes and butter (raisins too!) and pecan tarts.
Sadly in recent years, Bev's body and health continued to fail him and he passed away surrounded by his family at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Sunday, January 6, 2019 in his 78th year.
Beloved husband, and soulmate for 55 years, to Reta (McGilveary). Loving father of Heather and her husband Kendall Ward of Neustadt. Bev will be dearly missed by his two loving grandchildren, Kameran and Logan. He will be fondly remembered by his sister-in-law Fran Steward and Reta’s siblings, Herb (Lib) McGilveary, Blanche Beckett, Murray McGilveary, Lawrence (Arlene) McGilveary, Sharon (Art) Becker, Vern (Lorrie) McGilveary and Marion (Don) McAllister as well as the entire McGilveary family. Bev was predeceased by his brothers Rod (Lessetta), Harold (Janet), Carl, sister Alvera (Ivan) Wark, parents David and Hazel (Yeo) Steward, Reta’s siblings Jean (Stan) Powell, Mazie (Russ) Jones, Nelson McGilveary, Dean McGilveary, Lyle (Sue) McGilveary, Donna McGilveary, Ray Beckett and Lorne Subject.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Friday from 2 - 4 & 7 - 9 p.m. where a funeral service celebrating Bev’s life will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 11 a.m. Spring interment in Chesley Cemetery.
Memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation, Chesley Community Church or Children’s Wish Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend