Uncle Ian Stewart (Stewie), my Dad’s sisters Hubby, passed away a few weeks ago now. He died from leukemia, a long term term battle that took him out quick in the end. He was a controversial character in many ways and in many places, including his long term job at the Health Dept (1966 – 2005) as well as his involvement with Churches of Christ,and in particular at Wembley Downs. He had ideas…Lots of ideas. He was never afraid to stick out like a sore thumb for something he believed in. He would argue to the point of tears (mainly other people’s!!) at times, he would act like he knew something about everything…Yet did it all with a sparkle in his eye, like he was just trying to make you think beyond where it was ever thought you could go. He would not settle for just ‘being told’. He would investigate, explore, poke and prod until the wee small hours of the morning and until he would be satisfied that light had been shone into every dark corner of the subject. He knew many people, fought with many people and loved many people.
Until today I always had the feeling that Uncle Ian was one of these people who just like to sound like they knew something about everything, you know those people who read a line in the newspaper and suddenly become an expert on the topic?
I was wrong about Ian in this regard. He really did know something about everything! (well…)
Auntie Fay invited me in to Ian’s library of over 2000 books to see if there was anything in there I might like to take.
Philosophy, Anthropology, Psychology, Psychotherapy, History, Aboriginal Culture, Spirituality and theology, novels, biography, travel guides, marketing, current affairs, management, medical, and so on. Not just the latest authors, but classics like Fromm, Ivan Ilitch, Toffler, Thomas Moore and heaps of others that I don’t remember! In fact he had every book that Oliver Sacks ever wrote. I read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. He also wrote Awakenings, the one they made a movie out of in the mid-nineties with Robert DeNiro.
Here is an example of what Ian was like. Brett (his son) was there at the house looking over my shoulder, he pointed out a thick book on ‘airconditioning for home and office‘. Brett told me the story…Apparently Ian never liked to know less than someone (according to Brett). He wanted to put airconditioning in their house and so that he didn’t look silly, or was not ripped off by the salesman, he went out and bought this book all about airconditioning, so he was able to discuss with this guy on a decent level…No doubt a level deeper than the sales man was able!!
So to Ian, an art lover, an eccentric dresser, a lover of a multitude of genres of music, a man passionate for the things of the Kingdom…The real Kingdom, one in which there is no injustice, where black and white live and love together, where poverty is past, the environment is respected and people are treated with equality…I could go on –
Thanks for the memories, thanks for the books!!