The Georgia Strait Alliance Endowment Fund was made possible thanks to the incredible initial donation by Joan Milne Stewart, made in honour of her husband Captain William Iain Stewart. We thank Joan’s grandson, Iain Stewart, for sharing the following article about Joan, who was a long-time steward of the environment:
Gazing at the panoramic ocean view from her living room, Joan Milne Stewart reflects on the beauty of BC’s coastal waters and their central role in her adult life. Born in the Lower Mainland and married for over 50 years to a master mariner, she understands the delicate balance of our waterways, home to a vibrant commercial shipping industry as well as a teeming array of sea life.
“My late husband Iain was originally from Scotland and spent his working life at sea,” said Joan. “When he saw BC for the first time as a young man, he was so impressed he apparently determined right then and there that this was where he wanted to stay.” Iain and Joan met not long after that fateful decision and the rest, as they say, is history.
Iain spent the latter part of his career as a BC Coast Pilot, responsible for the safe navigation of commercial ships up and down the coast. “BC has such a complex coastline, and he took the safety of the ships, their crews, and the marine environment very seriously,” said Joan.
An avid outdoorsman, Iain Stewart played as hard as he worked. He loved the solitude of cross country skiing through the silent, snow covered forest, or canoeing on a lake’s still waters at dusk. His appreciation of BC’s stunning natural environment was shared with his family through fondly recalled camping trips and visits to the family cabin at 108 Mile in the Cariboo.
Joan, too, fostered a love of nature in her children. An early proponent of the concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” she has long recognized the need to be a steward of the environment.
“I’ve supported a variety of excellent causes over the years, many devoted to the care of animals,” she said. “The work of the Georgia Strait Alliance fits well with that focus. Our family has a great connection with the marine environment, and through this endowment I hope to ensure that my 12 grandchildren will be able to continue to enjoy all that it has to offer for years to come.”
Photos courtesy of the Stewart family.
Postscript: We are sad to report that Mrs. Joan Milne Stewart passed away in August 2013