Joan Stewart – A Tribute
COPY OF TRIBUTE READ IN CHURCH ON 13th MARCH 2016
Joan Stewart, one of our elders, died on the 5th of February.
Joan was born in Glasgow in November 1936 and was baptised in Greenbank Church on the 6th April 1937 whilst living in her grandparents’ new house in Hillview Drive. Her mother had travelled from the Argentine with Joan’s elder sisters, Peggy and Lillian, to ensure Joan was born in Scotland.
Joan’s father, who worked as a quantity surveyor on the Argentine railways, came home on leave when she was a few months old and took the family back to live in a home he had designed and built himself outside Buenos Aires. Joan spent a happy childhood growing up in the Argentine in what was very much an outdoor life. She played hockey and badminton, went swimming and camping and enjoyed tap dancing classes for many years.
Most of Joan’s schooling took place in the Argentine although, when she came back to stay with her grandparents during the school holidays, she was dismayed to discover that it wasn’t the school holidays in Scotland and she was sent to Eastwood Academy to continue her education.
Joan and her family came back home to Scotland in 1956 when her father retired. Joan’s first job in Scotland was in an office beside her sister, Peggy, who was working for Peacocks in the Icelandic Consulate. Joan moved on to working with the Venezuelan Consulate and in 1961 became the secretary to the director of Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Company. In all of these jobs Joan was able to use her fluent Spanish skills, as was the case when she worked as a secretary for Iberia Airlines. This helped with her love of travel as she was granted a free flight anywhere in the world every three years. Joan also worked as an interpreter in the Director’s Box at Ibrox when Rangers were playing Spanish teams and as translator with the publisher Collins on their Spanish to English dictionary.
When Joan retired at the age of 59 she pursued her hobbies of playing badminton, skiing, collecting owls and playing Sudoku. With her sister, Peggy, she also carried out voluntary work for the WRVS meals on wheels service. Her retirement also allowed her more time to share the duties of looking after her mother, who lived with Peggy and herself.
Peggy and Joan were very close to their sister Lillian and her family and after Lillian’s untimely death Peggy and Joan became surrogate mothers to her children, Stewart and Eileen, and grannies to Eileen’s twins, Stewart and Blair. Joan and Peggy were always together and when Peggy died six years ago it was a source of great sadness for Joan and she herself suffered from a serious illness. Thankfully she recovered well from it and was able to visit the Argentine three more times, visit the Holyland, and much to her family’s consternation, buy a car and start driving again.
Joan’s faith was important to her and she was ordained as an elder in Greenbank in 1998. She was a faithful district elder right up to her death. Joan was a loyal supporter of the church and volunteered for many duties. She was a member of the Guild, the Walking Group and the Film Club. She was also the World Mission Council representative on the Kirk Session.
Joan Stewart was a quietly spoken, kind, generous and modest woman who couldn’t see badness in anyone. She had a strong sense of humour and a twinkle in her eye. We all have our own special memories of Joan as she touched and enriched so many lives. Today we give thanks to God for the life and service of Joan Stewart and we commend Stewart, Eileen and the wider family to the love and care of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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