Beverly Jean (Van Polen) Stewart
Also Known As “Wedge”
November 2, 1933 - June 24, 2020
Wedge Stewart departed this earthly life on 24 Jun 2020 after sustaining a heart attack, from which she was unable to recover. Beverly Jean Van Polen was born in Fowlerville, Michigan on November 2, 1933 to Gerrit and Bernice Van Polen. She was the 3rd of four children and is survived by her sisters, Marion Van Polen Wrook and Sharon Van Polen Hill, both of Portland, MI. She is preceded in death by her parents, and her brother, Bobby.
In high school Bev met and married her first and only sweetheart, John J Stewart of Lyons, Michigan, who promptly renamed the feisty red head “Wedge” on a slippery slope walking home from school. (Yes, he carried her books). She wed on 5 May 1951 at the tender age of 17 and celebrated 62 years of blissful marriage to John, whose death parted them in February of 2014.
Once graduated from high school, Wedge joined John in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where they began a military career and started their family. The first born of four daughters was the effervescent Johnnie Rae in 1953. John’s first unaccompanied assignment in Korea resulted in Bev returning to her folks in Michigan and welcoming Jacqueline Jean into the family. Jackie was almost a full year old when she saw her father for the first time. Victoria Lynn followed along in 1957 at Fort Riley, Kansas and Vallorie Louise capped off the Stewart clan in ’62 during a four year assignment in Vicenza, Italy. The couple loved military life, the rich community of service members and families who became life-long friends, and the travel, diversity and opportunities Army life afforded family. In 1976, retired from the Army in Fayetteville, North Carolina, John sought business opportunities out West, and relocated Wedge to Sierra Vista/Fort Huachuca, where fell in love with the high desert and put down permanent roots.
Aside from raising her children, sewing and home making, Wedge dabbled in the workforce as circumstances allowed, teaching U.S. history to immigrants seeking citizenship, and assistant teaching children with severe autism in Fayetteville, as well as running a T shirt shop and managing a wash and fold laundry in Sierra Vista. Some of her favorite hobbies incuded travel (all 50 states, many European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), the Gideon women’s auxillary, bowling, golfing, singing in the choir and harmonizing with her daughters, dancing with John, playing pinochle with church friends, doing visitations with the homebound, sewing with the church ladies, and hosting dinner parties in her beautiful home. She was an expert in the art of hospitality and practiced her art often. She was a loyal friend, a loving and devoted wife and mother, a devout follower of Christ, and a quiet and powerful witness to God’s abundant grace.
Wedge is preceded in death by her husband, John, and her oldest daughter, Johnnie Rae. She is survived by Johnnie Rae’s husband, Jack Latham, Jackie (& Howard) Evans, Vickie (& James) Kiser, and Vallorie (& Andrew) Schlecht. Her eight grandchildren: Constance (Bobby), Beverly (John), Michael (Debra), Jennifer (Hasten), Katharina (Kyle), Victoria, Jonathan (Alex), and Elizabeth. She is also survived by 19 thriving great grandchildren: Phoenix, Jake, Weston, Bayne, Isibella, Ivy Maud, John, Helena, Parker, Maci Faith, (Aaron, Landon), Brant, Ian, Max, Kaedence, Korina, Alanna, and Rebekka.
A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held on 24 June 2021 at Sierra Lutheran Church (11 a.m.).
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