Happenings - November 2006
Grand County High School
GCHS Class of 1979
by Jeff Richards
Tim Stewart, 45, knows the rooms and
halls of Grand County High School as well as anyone. He’s
worked there as a janitor for nearly eight years.
After moving to Grand County with his family in 1974, Tim
attended Moab schools until his senior year. Although he
didn’t complete his graduation requirements in time
to walk at graduation ceremonies with his classmates in
1979, he later finished his GED and still keeps in close
contact with many of his fellow classmates.
Janitorial work is a source of pride for Tim, whose family
has been involved in that line of work for many years.
Tim’s grandfather J.C. was a janitor at Moab’s
Southeast Elementary (now known as Red Rock Elementary).
His uncle Preston and aunt Lillian were also janitors at
the old junior high on Center Street (where the Moab City
Center is now located). Another aunt, Gladys (the mother
of current GCHS football coaches Dennis and Darrin Wells),
also once worked as a janitor at Helen M. Knight Intermediate
School. In addition, Tim’s two younger sisters both
live in Moab and do custodial and maintenance work: Tammy
currently runs the custodial duties at Moab Valley Inn,
while youngest sibling Teressa works maintenance at the
Grand County Courthouse.
Tim’s parents Dave and Pat Stewart moved to Moab
from California with their three children when Tim was
12 years old. Tim’s dad, who has since passed away,
ran both the Union 76 and Husky gas stations in Moab for
a number of years, as well as the old station at La Sal
Junction back during the mining days. Tim’s mom Pat,
now retired, used to work at the county clerk’s office.
Tim has worked a variety of jobs since high school. He
lived in Elko, Nev. for nine years, including five years
working in the propane industry. After moving back to Moab,
he worked on drilling rigs and in underground mining at
Lisbon Valley for a few years before taking the school
Tim Stewart 1976
While doing everything from emptying
trash cans to polishing floors, Tim has gotten to work
alongside several of his former schoolteachers, including
Ray Olsen and Donna Brownell, who have both since retired.
His favorite teacher, though, was automotive instructor
Mel Grey. “I learned a lot from him,” notes
Tim, adding that he does most of his own car repairs and
maintenance “unless it’s something to do with
computers.” Tim also points out with a laugh that
he’s not the same Tim Stewart whose voice is featured
on local radio ads for Moab Chevrolet, although he often
gets joked about it.
Tim is the single father of two sons, both of whom live
with him in Moab. John, 21, graduated from GCHS in 2003
and works in construction. Dave, 20, graduated from GCHS
in 2004 and works as a cabinetmaker.
I sometimes think if I wasn’t working here at the
school, they never would have made it (though high school),” Tim
says. “But they came though just fine.”
All three men enjoy hunting and being in the outdoors.
Tim recently shot a buck deer during the archery season.
They also enjoy fishing in local lakes and streams. “One
of my sons caught a 26-inch catfish in Ken’s Lake
a couple of years ago,” adds Tim.
Although Tim wasn’t into sports much during school,
both of his sons participated in athletics. John played
football for two years, and Dave wrestled for three years.
Tim says he doesn’t attend as many Red Devil games
as he used to, mainly because his swing shift job keeps
him at the high school from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. every
weekday. “If it’s an indoor event, like volleyball
or basketball, I’ll take a quick peek to see how
the game’s going,” he says, adding that he
often will wear red on game days to show his support for
“The older you get, the faster time goes,” adds
Tim, who happily admits he loves his job. “It’s
all about keeping the kids healthy and keeping the building
nice and clean,” he says.
Tim says he often glances at the photos of the graduating
classes on the wall in the commons of the high school,
and is proud to say he’s known almost every student
since the graduating class of 1999, the second year of
the new school building’s existence and his first
year as janitor.
“I’m their confidant,” he admits. “Kids
talk to me after school, and I listen to them and try to
help them fit in, and keep them going.”
“I love it here in Moab, because of the friends I
have here in this tight-knit community,” adds Tim. “I
also enjoy being able to support the children (at school),
because they are our future.”
The affable Tim had one final message for the students
and staff at the high school: “GCHS rules – all
others drool!” he stated, adding with a laugh, “And,
don’t forget to pick up your garbage.”