Shawn David Stewart, son of Morris C. Stewart and Kathleen B. Stewart, was born January 6, 1968, at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. He married Lori (Dawes) Stewart on June 9, 2013, in Julian, California. Shawn transitioned from this life on Sunday, July 4, 2021, at Gulf Island National Seashore, Florida.
Shawn became a professional musician after graduating high school in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and studying music performance (percussion) at University of West Florida. He segued from performing with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, collegiate show choir ensembles, pop, rock, and jazz ensembles to a successful career as a military musician. Shawn served a single tour of duty in the US Army Band and later enlisted as a percussionist in the United States Marine Corps Band, serving tours of duty in Kaneohe, HI; San Diego, CA; as Musician Placement Director for 12th Marine Corps District, San Diego, CA; Cherry Point, NC; and finally at The Pentagon where he led the Marine Music Program at PAC-20. During his military career, Shawn served in combat over two deployments in Iraq and Kuwait and achieved the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant on September 1, 2016. MGySgt Stewart's personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 2 Gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with 1 Gold star, the Army Good Conduct Medal, and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with 1 Silver star and 1 Bronze star. He retired to civilian life January 1st, 2020, after 26 years of service.
Shawn was an avid outdoorsman and loved being in the mountains, where he spent endless hours hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and camping. He found peace and tranquility in nature and was particularly fond of our National Parks. During his time on the East Coast, Shawn added rock climbing and off-roading to his repertoire of hobbies and talents, which were many. Those who know him can attest to his perfectionism, his unmatched drive and motivation to be the best at everything he did, his tendency to fully immerse himself in his current project or goal, and his commitment to always, always do the right thing. Shawn poured his whole heart into raising and setting a good example for his two daughters, and was a devoted and adoring husband to Lori.
Throughout his many unique life experiences as a professional musician, combat veteran U.S. Marine, outdoorsman and travel enthusiast, Shawn was constantly snapping pictures of family, friends, nature, and travel experiences. Upon retirement from the Marine Corps, Shawn began exploring his interest in photography. He developed a new fondness for this art form while reflecting on lives that had ended too soon to realize their own experiences. Shawn’s desire was to record and share fleeting experiential wonderments in the most reverent way possible. He began his formal education in photography at The New York Institute of Photography and was currently enrolled at Pensacola State College majoring in Photographic Technology.
Shawn is survived by his wife, Lori (Dawes) Stewart; daughters, Tayler Smith (Tod) and Palmer Stewart; stepsons, Mark Baldwin (Meagan) and Samuel Baldwin; mother, Kathleen (Bird) Stewart; sister, Tiffany Turner (Shawn); nephews, Logan Turner and Kane Turner; uncle, John Bird (Jackie); aunts, Linda Shafer and Teresa Potrzebowski; cousins, Tony Spence, Christopher Bird (Sara), Jeffrey Bird (Heidi), Amy Potrzebowski, and Lucas Potrzebowski; closest friend, Keenan Castello; and his beloved pets, Pip and Layla. He is preceded in death by his father, Morris “Stu” Stewart and grandparents.
A graveside memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 10:00am, at Beal Memorial Cemetery in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Arrangements are under the direction of Davis-Watkins Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Shawn’s name may be made to Warrior Expeditions, a veteran nonprofit organization.