by Jill Summerhayes
Stuart Summerhayes completed his last race, crossing the final finish line sooner than he wished, in a time of 76 years, 8months. There was no gold medal at the end of this race, but with a quiet smile and positive outlook he allowed himself to rest on November 7th, 2010.
His quiet manner, sense of humour and leadership skills will be missed by many, particularly his three sons, David (Kelly) grandchildren Zach, Lukas, Kassie, of Waterloo; Graham (Sharon) grandchildren Claire and Charlotte, of Stouffville; and Andrew (grandchild Holly) of South River. He was a loving step father to Jill’s children, Alison Turner(Brad Crombie,) grandchildren Turner and Gibson of Highgate, London UK; Helen Turner-Fisher (Mark) children Addison and Garrett of Cambridge; and Michael Turner (Rena) of Toronto. They will all miss his wise counsel, but none more so than his wife Jill to whom he gave the precious gift of a deep and abiding love.
Inducted into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame in 2007- as a National and World champion race walker, he held 25 Canadian records in the Masters division, at the time of his death. Inducted into the Ontario Masters Hall of Fame for athletic excellence on Oct. 30th 2010, Stuart was known for far more than his dedication to the sport of race walking. At 73years old, looking for a new challenge, he joined the Cambridge Rowing Club and took the Learn to Row programme, spending many happy hours on the river. Stuart was passionate about his causes, which, combined with a strong sense of social justice, led to working toward the equality of women. Among his many accomplishments were the co-founding the Cambridge Social Planning Council; he was instrumental in securing the Community Heritage Fund which led to the purchase of McDougal Cottage, now a regional heritage site and museum. In support of his wife Jill’s love of the arts he enjoyed writing, particularly rhyming poetry and short stories; he dabbled with some success in watercolour painting, took on several roles with the Galt Little Theatre and worked diligently to promote the arts in this community.
As Chair of the Cambridge Arts Guild he initiated the Artist in Residence programme at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts and was an active leader on numerous city committees, during his 32 years in the city he loved.
Prior to moving to Cambridge from Toronto, Stuart worked as an ordained minister with the Anglican Church for fifteen years. He went into the private sector after the breakdown of his first marriage. Retiring at 68 years he worked as a civil servant for Health Canada for twenty years.
Special thanks to the loving friends who formed a palliative care team, “Stuart’s Pals” to nurse him at home; Para Med nurses particularly Pat Bolender and Joanne Resendes and the medical day care staff at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, especially Maureen Quinn. To Dr. Louise Sims, thank you so much for your care .
Once notified of his impending induction in to the Ontario Masters Sports Hall of Fame , for excellence in athletics(racewalking) he was determined to attend the event and struggled valiantly in spite of being almost immobile to attend the ceremony in Toronto, held on Oct 30th which he managed to achieve with support from his family and medical personnel.
A Tribute to Stuart and Celebration of his life will be held in the Toyota Room, at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts (next to City Hall, 60 Dickson Street) on Sunday November 28th, 2010 at 3.00 p.m. Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Cambridge Community Orchestra would be most appreciated. (www.cambridgeorchestra.ca or to 56- 169 Bismark Drive, Cambridge N1S 5B9).
“Your legacy will continue long after you have left us, your loving ways and well lived life will be both honoured and remembered.”
Arrangements by Coutts Funeral Home.