Ronald Carey Stewart, 65, passed away Tuesday, April 11 at home with his family in South Range after a short battle with cancer. Stewart was born in Mount Clemens, MI on July 22, 1957 to Ronald and Nancy (Reeside) Stewart.
Stewart graduated from high school in 1975 and enlisted in the army, serving in Germany and traveling Europe at every chance.
Later, he worked as a chef in many of Michigan’s most successful restaurants. Of particular note are Union Street, a popular restaurant on Woodward Avenue in Detroit and Stewart’s, which he opened in 1992 with the help of his father, first wife, and many others.
In 1998, Stewart met his wife, Hilary Virtanen, and their adventure of nearly 25 years together began. They started a family and moved to Indiana and Wisconsin before returning to the Copper Country in 2011. Here, Stewart dove into his love of restoring old tools and furniture and collecting Keweenaw oddities. He also fished, camped, and bush-cruised with Hilary, foraging for berries and mushrooms and going wherever the backroads took them.
Stewart was preceded in death by his mother, Nancy. He is survived by his wife Hilary, and his children, Nykola, Katya, Alexander, Andrew, and Noah; his father Ronald, and sisters Erin (Collin), Cynthia, Amy (Nancy), and Laura (Wayne). He also leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
During Stewart’s last months of life, many dozens of people helped us and we are grateful to you all. A few folks that deserve special mention include Dan Roblee, Anne Newcombe, Jason Schroeder, Bill LaBissoniere, Bob and Margaret Landsparger, and Pastor Micah Cavaleri. As one friend noted, “If lives were measured in stories instead of years, Stewart would have outlived all of us.”
A memorial service will be announced later in the summer. Ryan Funeral Home is serving the family.
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