Grandchildren help cut the ribbon at the naming ceremony of the Sharon and Dick Stewart Maritime Center. Photos by Jeff Evans

Maritime Center renamed to honor Sharon and Dick Stewart


On Monday, Dec. 21, a large group of family, friends, supporters, and staff of the Port Royal Sound Foundation gathered on Lemon Island to celebrate the renaming of its Maritime Center in honor of founding members Sharon and Dick Stewart. 

The Stewarts were introduced by the Foundation’s Executive Director Jody Hayward and Board President Dean Moss, then each made remarks.

Jody Hayward, Dean Moss and Sharon Stewart

Sharon Stewart spoke passionately about her lifelong love of the water.

Dick Stewart followed, saying, “A mentor once told me, when possible, I should speak after the senior manager. I’m pleased to follow the CEO and president of our family, my best friend, and the love of my life. Thank you, Sharon.”

He then spoke about the early days of the Foundation, saying its birth had coincided with the birth of his first grandchild, Alex (10), who was in attendance. The Maritime Center, he said, was “born” just a couple of months after his second grandchild, Drew (7), also in attendance. He thanked his grandchildren for their inspiration, saying that without them, he and his wife would not be receiving this honor.

“Their birth caused us to reflect on the world we want for future generations,” he said.

The Stewarts with their daughter Leigh, son-in-law Andy, and grandchildren, Alex and Drew.

“The Maritime Center is located in the center of Port Royal Sound,” Stewart continued. “It sits on the shores of the clean Chechessee River. We hoped this Center would be a physical beacon for people who love the waters and the lands of the Port Royal Sound area. We hoped those people would express that love by making the Center a place of learning and teaching for all ages. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you! You have exceeded our grandest hopes.”

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Hayward spoke with The Island News. 

“There were a lot of people involved in creating the center, and in putting together the mission of the Foundation,” Hayward said. “But the visionary – the person who could see decades into the future – was always Dick. And he was always driven and supported by Sharon. I told him a long time ago, just keep me on the right path. I’m going to be doing things and checking lists, but you’re the one who has to keep me on the right track.”

“Dick has an amazing ability to see past the hard stuff of the day and really be the dreamer for tomorrow,” Hayward continued. “That’s what has driven our success and helped bring more people into the fold, and into the understanding of why this mission is so important.”

To learn more about the Port Royal Sound Foundation and the Sharon and Dick Stewart Maritime Center, visit www.portroyalsoundfoundation.org.

Margaret Evans is the editor of Lowcountry Weekly and the co-publisher of The Island News. She can be reached at editor@lcweekly.com.

The Stewarts were presented with a painting by Mary Segars
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