PASB Board of Directors
A Tribute to Bev by Jan Birzer, Board Member
BEVERLY MAY STEWARD
November 30, 1923 – May 9, 2006
After over 50 years of living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and surviving numerous mini-strokes, Bev departed this life leaving family, friends, Parkinsonians and caregivers appreciating the wonders of this great woman. This was apparent by the large number attending her celebration of life on June 17 at the Free Methodist Church in Santa Barbara.
It was Bev’s inspiration and leadership that lead to the formation of the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara (PASB) in August of 1978. Approximately 45 people attended an organizational meeting after seeing Bev’s invitation in the Santa Barbara News-Press. Bev acted as the Executive Director, a position she held until about 1991 when she retired. This was the first PD support group in California.. Eventually Bev helped to establish groups in Ventura, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo, California.
In 1981, Bev produced an audio exercise tape and started the weekly exercise group which then met at the Naval Armory. Bev was also instrumental in educating the PD community with reading and audiotape lending libraries. Throughout the years Bev helped in providing speech therapy, in-service for nursing professionals and Adult Education in-services, to mention a few.
In 1981, Bev attended the first PD leadership conference in Maryland. She attended meetings in Washington DC as an advocate to raise Congressional awareness for PD. In 1989, the Sid Dorros award for an outstanding PD support group was given to PASB. More recently the Parkinson Disease Foundation recognized PASB.
Although Bev was nationally known for her work to raise awareness of the disease, she was also a friend and mentor to all who attended the monthly PASB meetings. Her personal phone calls and visits showed her interest and concern. PASB is a better organzation thanks to Bev! We miss her, but all her good works live on in our organization!