Farewell


I don’t know what to write.  On Saturday, we lost one of our housemates (or should I say ‘beloved fellow house dwellers’ as a fellow dweller puts it?) to cancer.  His presence in my life means a great deal to me, yet I struggle to find the words to express it.

Stuart was a people person.  While he could come across as quite gruff sometimes, he loved being with people and he loved making people happy – I believe he was happiest not when he was on the stage, but when he was cooking for friends, particularly for one of his birthday gatherings.  He would always cook far too much, every single time, and it was clear from his face that his friends enjoying what he had made was something that made him very happy.  Whether it was lasagne, apple cake or an unlikely ice cream flavour, it was a great joy in his life to create and serve it.  He loved to spend time with people.  Quality time.

Stuart was a gifted performer who knew how to work an audience.   Things didn’t work out for him as a professional actor, but he used his skills at work (teaching drama and directing school productions) and as a hobby.  I first met him when we were both in the chorus of The Beggar’s Opera, and I got to perform with him in Tosca and in Titanic as well.  There were things about theatre (and particularly amateur theatre) that would drive him absolutely crazy, but he certainly knew what he was doing.

Stuart was honest.  He was one of the few people who would be happy to tell me what was wrong with my performances as well as what was right.  A scene didn’t land the way it was meant to?  He’d tell me.  I was playing two characters, but one of them really didn’t work?  He’d tell me.  But he also encouraged me to try different things – to sing in my baritone register, to pursue less comedic parts and to just go for it in as wide a variety of roles as possible, even if some of them didn’t really work.

I will miss him terribly.  I already miss him terribly.  The fact that he cared, really, really cared about his friends.  The pronouncements that a particular show, or a particular episode of Doctor Who, was either amazing or terrible (with no room for disagreement).  His faith.   His love of singing harmony (oh, so much harmony in church settings).  His love-hate relationship with his career.  His honesty, always wearing his heart on his sleeve.  And just him.  A good friend.  I hope he knew how much we loved him.  Although it hurts, I know that he is safe now in our Father’s hands.

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, David.

  2. He has left a gaping hole in our lives now he has gone. I am so glad to have known him and been his friend.

    • steve ayers
    • June 18th, 2010

    Was really sorry to hear this news David. I didn’t know Stu terribly well, I think he finished Uni the year I turned up but he was often (and fondly) recalled by the students there. Praying for you all, take care.

    • Trish
    • June 21st, 2010

    That was a beautiful tribute. What a wonderful guide, teacher and friend he must have been as well as great fun to have around.

  3. So sorry David. My heartfelt condolences.

    • Linda
    • July 16th, 2010

    Responding to this late, i know, but the way in which you write about him, how you tell us what a man he was, moves me to tears for someone I never knew. A tragic loss.

  1. August 16th, 2010

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