Remembering Mr. Stewart Smith: A Legacy of Dedicated Service

Remembering Mr. Stewart Smith: A Legacy of Dedicated Service

After 12 years of serving Arcadia Unified School District (AUSD),  Mr. Stewart Smith, a dedicated custodian, passed away on Jan. 7 at the age of 62.

Mr. Gabriel Santos, the manager of AUSD Facilities and Operational Services, informed this unfortunate news to the Arcadia High School (AHS) front office, Custodial Department, and Transportation Department on Jan. 8.

In the email, he wrote, “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Stewart Smith passed away over the weekend…Anyone that knew Stewart knew that he was a fun-loving, go-lucky, kind soul. He always walked around with a smile, and greeted you with contagious laughter. We will miss him tremendously.”

Mr. Smith was first employed as a substitute custodian at the end of 2012, where he primarily covered custodial absences at various schools across the district. He did several notable projects as a substitute custodian, including roof cleaning and pressure washing. In 2017, Mr. Smith was permanently hired as a custodian for AHS.

At AHS, Mr. Smith had a graveyard shift, 10 p.m.-5:30 a.m., during which he was responsible for cleaning A-Building, S-Building, and the North Gym. He normally started the shift working at S-Building, then the North Gym, and finally finishing the night at A-Building. During his time at AHS, he also helped with setting up the brand new Performing Arts Center, and ensured each performance proceeded without any issues.

Ms. Stephanie Loc, who worked alongside Mr. Smith during the graveyard shift and was often hailed as his closest friend, expressed her deep admiration for him.

“One thing about Stewart is that he always asked how you’re doing and made conversation even to people he didn’t know. I remember asking him, ‘Do you know them?’ and he would say ‘No,’” said Ms. Loc. “That says a lot about Stewart–he always made people happy regardless if he knew you or not.”

When asked about Mr. Smith’s most memorable contribution, Mr. Santos responded with the specific task of pressure washing. 

“Pressure washing is an intensive labor; it takes a toll on your back and your body,” said Mr. Santos. “But everytime I asked Stewart for this [task], he would always say yes. If you called him, he would just say, ‘Okay I got it; I will take care of it.’ He was cooperative; he was a team player; he was a people pleaser. If you asked him to do something, he would always say yes, always willing to help out.”

“Stewart never gave you a hard time, because he took care… and did it with a smile,” Mr. Santos added. “Everybody who knew him liked him; he was a great guy.” 

To many of Mr. Smith’s acquaintances, he was known for his kind-hearted spirit. Outside of work, Mr. Smith loved to go to Dodgers games and enjoyed barbecues and traveling. When at work, even in the face of tough tasks and the demanding night shift schedule, Mr. Smith never failed to approach his work with a positive attitude. 

According to Mr. Al Campero, the lead custodian at AHS, when night shifts were not available during the summertime, Mr. Smith would “come with the funniest jokes, with a smile, and brought a smile to everyone’s face.”

“He was a very kind person, very funny, and always had a smile on his face,” said Mr. Campero. “He made working summer enjoyable.”

According to Mr. Campero, Mr. Smith’s work ethic was characterized by watchfulness. He would quickly notice any unforeseen incidents, and assure prompt solutions. To Mr. Smith, the safety of AHS staff and students was his utmost priority.

“If he saw a problem arise, he would go out of his way to find me to help him,” Mr. Campero shared. “He was always quick to inform me of anything that needs to be taken care of immediately.”

“Stewart was one of the joyful people to work with, on and off campus. He had a bright attitude, and was very optimistic,” said Mr. Campero. “He will be dearly missed.”

“His laughter was contagious; he brightened your day whenever he was around. It was an honor for me to meet someone as nice and caring as Stewart,” expressed Ms. Loc. “We said to each other that we will meet again in the next lifetime. Until then, I guess God had better plans for him now.”

The funeral for Mr. Smith is scheduled for Jan. 17, and a GoFundMe post has been set up in his honor to aid his family during this difficult time. If you wish to contribute and support his family, you can visit this website.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Arcadia Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *