Losing loved ones is always unbearably difficult. One way that family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours can express their caring is by contributing to a memorial fund. "It helps us all feel like we're doing something," said Anne Stewart, whose sons Gerry, 29, and Brian, 25, died last spring during a climb on Mt. Elbrus [Russia], Europe's highest mountain.
Well known as outstanding students and excellent athletes, the brothers continued the family traditions of pursuing careers in medicine and participating on track & field and cross country running teams. Gerry had completed medical school and was entering his fourth year of residency in Nepbrology. He was an Academic All Canadian and competed in the CIAU National Cross Country Competition on several occasions, running for the University of Calgary and University of Alberta. Brian was entering his third year of medicine at the University of Alberta, where he was a three time Academic All Canadian, and had run at the CIAU National Competition for track and cross country. He was the 2003 Canada West University l000m champion. Both brothers had earned their Chief Scout and Queen Venturer Awards, and competed on the winning team of the Jasper Banff Relay in the final year it was run.
"They were two of the most completely selfless, completely team oriented people I've met," said Adam Wellstead, an assistant coach, U of A track & field and cross country teams. "They were very talented, but they had to work hard, too. They were very well balanced individuals who knew where their priorities were. And when it was time to study, they studied... The thing was, they would be there for most of the practices, too. They were always there for the team."
"Our kids all received academic and athletic scholarships while in high school and at university, so we decided to start a memorial scholarship fund in Gerry's and Brian's names," said Dr. Cal Stewart.
"The Lethbridge Community Foundation was very easy to work with and Neil Manning has been so kind in helping us set up the fund," said Mrs. Stewart. The family was overwhelmed by the generous support the fund has received. Over the past year, many events and activities across the province have been dedicated to the memory of Gerry and Brian, including the 2003 Waterton Glacier Relay, which the whole family has been involved with for many years. The Gerry and Brian Stewart Memorial Endowment Fund will continue to keep their memory alive and support students at the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute and the University of Alberta who show the same commitment and dedication as these two brothers.