Michele “Shelly” Steward, age 57, of Akeley Township, daughter, wife, and mother, formerly of Robbinsdale, finished her work on Earth and joined her savior March 3, 2021, surrounded by her husband and children at home.
Shelly grew up in Robbinsdale, and graduated from Robbinsdale High School in 1981. She participated on the cheerleader team as a proud Robin. Shelly attended St. Cloud State University, creating lifelong growth, relationships, and memories at Campus Crusade for Christ. She graduated with a degree in early childhood education, the first in her family to earn a four year degree.
Shelly began her 30 year teaching career as an intern for World Vision in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. Shelly then began work at Northeast Regional Catholic School in Minneapolis.
She met her husband, John, on a church ski trip, where they talked the entire weekend. Their first date was a Golden Gopher Hockey game she was an avid, lifelong fan. Shelly and John married in 1991, living in Northern Minnesota pine and lake country for 28 happy years.
Shelly’s greatest joy was her faith, family, and service to others; especially for the less fortunate. She lived her life with an eternal perspective and will be missed by countless dear friends.
She served her faith community in many capacities, including teaching Sunday school, and co-founding two churches, the Akeley Regional Community Center (ARCC) and the Akeley library.
Shelly loved country life, with its simple pleasures of walks, talks, campfires, stars, and swans. She poured her life into homeschooling with zest and tenacity; with the model “never kill the love of learning in a child.” She was proud her children attended and graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota.
In her later years, she served as a substitute teacher at Walker Akeley Hackensack High School, making many friends. She had a unique ability to connect with children, and took special care of those struggling to cope and learn. It was common to see packs of her students rush up to her spontaneously.
Special thanks to the staff at North Memorial and Fargo Hospitals and St. Mary’s Campus Mary Brigh Unit, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Walker and Park Rapids Clinics, and home care hospice angels Heather, Krista, and Aaron.
Memorials in honor of Shelly may be sent to the family in Akeley to support local community betterment, including the Akeley library. Thank you to all the friends who cared and supported Shelly during her time on Earth; it allowed her family to provide ideal care during her last 117 days at home.
Due to COVID-19, a private family service took place at Calvary Church in Walker on Monday, March 8. Interment will be at the Akeley Cemetery in Akeley.
Services were provided by Whispering Pines Funeral & Cremation Service (www.whisperingpinesnorth.com).