Stewart Family

pg 743 More Big Hill Country 2009

Judy and Dr. Bruce Stewart both grew up in Quebec. Judy is the daughter of Herbert and Leah Dubeau, French-Canadian farmers from Lost Nation, Quebec. Judy attended Knowlton High School in Knowlton Quebec for grades 1-11. Bruce is the son of Glenn and Catherine Stewart and he attended school in Beaconsfield, Quebec. Judy and Bruce met in 1970 while students at McGill University. In 1974, they married and moved to Calgary where Bruce was in medical school. Judy, a teacher in Quebec, was not qualified to teach in Alberta so worked during the day as a teacher’s aide, and attended the University of Calgary in the evenings until she graduated with her Bachelor of Education in 1977. Bruce graduated from medical school that same year. 

Upon graduation, they moved to Torbay, Newfoundland for a year while Bruce completed his residency, returning to Calgary in 1978. From 1978-1979, Judy taught at Manachaban School in Cochrane. In 1979 she taught in Calgary, while Bruce began his medical practice with Dr. George McQuitty in Cochrane. They moved to Cochrane to cut down on Bruce’s travel time, found the perfect house in the East End, and moved in 1980. They have lived in the same house in the same neighbourhood next to the same neighbours, Doug and Lessia Innes for 28 years.

Judy and Bruce raised two children, Rory and Marlene, who both attended Cochrane High School, after attending Andrew Sibbald, Glenbow School, and Mitford School. Rory attended the University of Calgary, became an engineer, and is married to Katie McIntyre, daughter of Jocelyn Brett and Blaine McIntyre. Rory and Katie live in Cochrane in May Olson’s old house about five doors down from Bruce and Judy. Marlene attended the University of Victoria and became a band teacher, following in the footsteps of Rob Billington and Merrilee Stonewall, both Cochrane band teachers who had a tremendous impact on both Stewart children. At the time of writing, there are no grandchildren. 

In the early 1990s, Judy and her husband Bruce teamed up with their neighbours to protect the hills and coulees behind their home from infill and development. While they were able to save the hillsides, one coulee was filled and they dubbed it “Mount Ugly”. As predicted by the neighbours and ranchers in the area, the infill has led to several floods and mudslides. The latest was in 2005. The development caused significant political outcry leading to Judy running for Town Council and Bruce’s “working” with the council of the day to have an underpass constructed on Highway 1A. The only benefit accrued to the area by Mount Ugly is that this area is now the “Mediterranean” of Cochrane. 

Judy’s life in Cochrane was always full of fun, starting with the earliest days when most people simply referred to her as “the doctor’s wife”. She was able to stay home with the children until they started kindergarten and taught four year olds at the Cochrane Creative Playschool during the early years 1988-1991. She started the Cochrane Creative Playschool 10 K Run, which she organized for several years. Judy was an active runner and cyclist during those years. 

She also organized Canada Day and the Terry Fox Run for many years. In 1992, she was honoured to receive the Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for volunteerism in her community. In 1991, she went to University and earned her Bachelor of Laws in 1994. In 1992, she was elected to Town Council, where she served until 1998 when she was called to the Alberta bar. Judy’s political career was peppered with controversy as she spoke her mind and worked hard to represent the interests of the citizens during periods of rapid growth and development. In 2001, she became the Mayor, although she did not seek re-election in the 2004 election. In 1997, and 2004, Judy ran for the Provincial Liberal party, and in 2004, and 2006 she ran for the Federal liberal party. In 2007, she ran again for a seat as a town councilor and lost by 12 votes. Judy has worked with the Bow River Basin Council since 1992, and continues to work locally, regionally, and provincially on policy development for protecting water resources. In 2007, she started her Master of Laws degree at the University of Calgary and her thesis will be Municipal Integrated Water and Land Use Management. Judy has her own law practice in Cochrane. Judy’s claim to fame is that she served with many of Cochrane’s Mayors from the 1980s, 2008 beginning with Caroline Godfrey, Verne Friesen, Lydia Graham, Ken Bech and Truper McBride. Her two most favourite memories in Cochrane were getting the George Fox Trail named for George Fox, and being part of the entourage of pioneer women who came down the big hill at Cochrane’s Centennial. She is most known for her work to protect ravines and wetlands from the impacts of development.

Bruce’s life in Cochrane was always busy with his family, and family medicine practice. 

He joined Dr. McQuitty at the Cochrane Health Centre in the old Provincial Building on Main Street after doing locums in Pincher Creek and Calgary. Thinking this was probably another short-term locum, he reconsidered after George’s sudden passing and decided to stay on “for a while”, 1979-2003. For many years, Bruce kept Dr. McQuitty’s legacy of family practice alive through the George McQuitty Society. and even ensured that a small space in the Cochrane Health Centre was set aside to showcase the medical instruments used by his predecessor. In 2003, Bruce took a sabbatical and is now semi-retired working a few days a week at Royal Oak Medical Clinic. Bruce was an active community volunteer, serving on the ambulance committee for the Town of Cochrane, and the ICAN anti-smoking campaign which ended with a bylaw that prohibited smoking in restaurants where children under 18 were in attendance. Bruce coached soccer for both his children for many years. He was an avid skier, runner, and cyclist. He cycled across Canada with Dr. Dennis Fundytus and Rick Makowichuk, a teacher from Cochrane High School in the 1990s. Bruce currently enjoys making music with the Cochrane Music Society and serves on the Board of Directors. 

Both Judy and Bruce had a life of community service and are still actively engaged in service to their communities in many ways. They have a dog Phreadee that they adopted from the Cochrane Humane Society who keeps them walking. They have no regrets.

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