Shirley Stewart

Obituary of Shirley Bernice Stewart


We celebrate the life of Shirley Bernice Stewart, our loving and devoted wife, mom, grandmother, sister-in-law, aunt, and friend to all whose lives she touched. She passed away while sleeping peacefully at home, on December 17, 2020. She had a long and full life of 93 years and will be missed dearly.

Shirl was an extraordinary person. She radiated love and compassion to everyone, and people gravitated to her because of it. She lifted all those around her with her love of life, optimism and positive attitude. She always had a beautiful smile, a contagious laugh, and was clever and quick-witted with a great sense of humor.

Shirl was predeceased by her husband Ross (James), with whom she shared a tremendously rich and rewarding life. She will live forever in the hearts and lives of her 3 daughters Catherine (Ted Kent), Linda (John Finlay), Heather (Davis), grandchildren Alexandra and Victoria Davis, sister-in-law Margaret Carter, and her many nieces and nephews.

Shirl was happiest when she was surrounded by family and was a major presence in the lives of her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Shirl devoted herself to her grandchildren, and remained their biggest cheerleader. They shared an extremely close bond with Shirl and lifelong memories that will always remain in their hearts.

Born at 453 Jones Avenue, Shirl resided in Toronto her entire life. Shirl was the youngest and adored sibling of 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Shirl's childhood life – rich in family love - experienced tremendous change with the departure of her 4 brothers serving overseas during WWII. Each night, for 5 years, Shirl's mom and sisters lovingly kissed the boy's pictures and shared their prayers for their safe return. Miraculously, all of Shirl’s brothers returned home from war safe and sound.

With the boys at war, Shirl's life remained full with the love of her eldest sister, Helen, sister and best friend, Audrey, sister-in-laws, and life long friends. She immersed herself in Hollywood's 'golden age' of film, and Shirl's lifetime vision and dreams were made.

Shirl's life was rooted in our veterans, with her husband, four brothers, brother-in-law's, and many friends serving in WWII. Ross was a former Pipe Major of the 48th Highlanders, and Shirl's life was tremendously rewarded by her many friendships with the 48th Highlanders and the IODE. Shirl loved being with people and our family home was open to all, including many visitors from 'the old country' and Holland.

Shirl was forever nurturing. She knew how to turn a child's and teenager's tear into a smile with the kindness and softness of her voice and touch. Everyone wanted her as their mom, and she was everyone's mom – throughout our lives.

Shirl’s two grandchildren absolutely adored her. Shirl was a constant presence in their life, filling them with joy, laughter, light-heartedness, and tremendous love and attention. Shirl lived with her grandchildren for many years, and these were some of the most fun years they ever had. Growing up, Shirl would make her famous toast soldiers, shortbread cookies and spoiled them with American girl dolls and care packages from Florida flea markets. They developed an early routine of cuddling up with their grandmother on the couch each day to watch the Young and the Restless and the daily news, while completing word searches. On special nights, Shirl would play old movies with Shirley Temple, and they would all sing along and tap their feet to the songs. Shirl and the girls also enjoyed their time together at the cottage and Florida, learning about their family history, how to play various card games, and swimming together. Shirl devoted herself to her grandchildren and remained their biggest cheerleader. They had a close bond with Shirl and lifelong memories that will always remain in their hearts.

Shirl lived life to the fullest, excelling in all she did, including as administrative assistant with the Toronto Board of Education, before enjoying leisure retirement years with family and friends in Florida.

Shirl lived for her family, and we lived for her. She was proud and honoured to be the matriarch to our large, extended family. This loving and caring woman instilled her values in us and provided us with wonderful memories. She will live forever in the hearts and lives of her three daughters, two grandchildren, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephews who loved her as their second mom.

For the last few years, Shirl was a resident of Leaside Revera Retirement Home and her family is forever grateful for the kind and compassionate care, and love of our Shirl.

Shirl intentionally filled her pockets with coins and would seek out homeless people on Queen Street. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations would be appreciated to the Salvation Army and Covenant House.

A celebration of her life will be announced post-COVID-19. Condolences may be forwarded through