Some sad news to share with you all: Stevie’s father Stuart lost his battle with terminal cancer a week ago last Wednesday. He died peacefully in his sleep.
Stuart was one of the early driving forces behind the expedition. When few others took Steve’s embryonic idea seriously, Stuart became a walking, talking evangelist for Pedal for the Planet (the original project name), especially in his local watering hole. His infectious enthusiasm regularly convinced customers to hand over ten pounds for a vinyl name on a boat that didn’t even exist yet. This was the early seed money that helped purchase materials to start building Moksha, the unique craft that Steve and I would use to cross the world’s oceans by human power.
Lack of commercial backing would continue to be our nemesis for the next 11 years until the expedition reached Singapore, so we were very fortunate to have Stuart lead grassroots fundraising drives in Portugal, Miami, San Francisco, Monterey, and Hawaii. Looking back, I’m not sure the expedition would have remained afloat otherwise. When people ask what was the toughest part of the 46,500-mile journey, often they’re surprised to learn that it was generating the means to keep going financially, not the physical journey itself.
Many of you no doubt have special memories of Stuart, and a portion of them (I’ll wager) include good cheer and unbridled laughter. But one in particular stands out for me. I remember him appearing at my hospital bedside the morning after a drunk driver ran me down on my rollerblades in Pueblo, Colorado. After learning of the accident, Stuart had jumped on the first plane from Fort Lauderdale to come and care for me during the recuperation period. Over the ensuing months, he and I toured local schools, giving free presentations, and it was out of these introductions with teachers that our educational mission really took shape, eventually channelled through a bespoke 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.
Stuart was a larger than life character. He will be sorely missed.
There will be no church service. The family plans to scatter his ashes at sea at Salcombe, Devon, in a few months’ time, followed by a drink at the pub. If anyone wishes to pay their respects, please let Stevie know by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.