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Alumni Happenings - November 2006
Grand County High School

 

Tim Stewart, GCHS Class of 1979
by Jeff Richards

Tim Stewart
Tim Stewart

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 janitor job.


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 teams.

“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.”

 
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