Stewart Lee Giles, 58, of Harbor Springs, Michigan passed away at his home on August 14, 2013.
Stewart was born on October 6, 1954 at Gratiot Community Hospital in Alma, Michigan to Maynard Giles and Marlene Gault. He grew up in the Mid-Michigan area of Gratiot County, attending high school in Hemlock before enlisting into the United States Marine Corps in 1973. Stewart spent six years as a Tracked Vehicle Repairman in the Marines, serving one tour in Viet Nam. The majority of Stewart's military service was spent on Okinawa, Japan where he served with the Tracked Vehicle Battalion at Camp Schwab and Camp Hanson. As a Second Award Expert Rifleman, he also served as a shooting instructor on the rifle range. During his tour on Okinawa, Stewart was on a detail to repair and retrieve a tank that had broken down during field exercises. While working on the tank, he and his crew were forced to abandon it when the engine caught fire. Jumping to safety through the black diesel smoke, Stewart missed the side of the road to plummet several feet over a cliff, landing feet-first in rocky brush where he lost consciousness and suffered severe leg injuries that would affect him throughout his life. Stewart loved Okinawa. After receiving his Honorable Discharge in 1979, he chose to stay on the island for another year, taking a job with a Japanese Construction Company and working road construction.
Returning to the United States in 1980, Stewart relocated to Fargo, North Dakota in 1981, seeking opportunity within the state's stable and flourishing economy. He met and married Kimberly Ann Petterson there in 1982. Sons Justin and Eric were born in 1983 and 1984. When the couple divorced in 1986, Stewart remained in the Fargo area until 1992 when he returned to Michigan.
Stewart moved to Northern Michigan in 1998, first taking up residence near Boyne City before settling in Harbor Springs. Stewart loved Northern Michigan. When he wasn't busy employing his skills in light carpentry, Stewart could be found enjoying the outdoors, sitting patiently with a fishing rod in his hand at the mouth of the Boyne River in Boyne City or the mouth of the Bear River in Petoskey. Anyone that knew Stewart Giles was aware that his passion for hunting and fishing was nearly as fierce as the love that he held for his family. He was also an avid and die-hard Tigers baseball fan and lived a little piece of heaven anytime he could share his love for baseball and the outdoors with his family.
Stewart is survived by his two sons, Justin L. Giles and Eric S. Giles of Fargo, North Dakota; three half-sisters, Sherry L. Cater of San Diego, CA; Denise (Giles) Arisian of Charlotte, NC and Debbie (Giles) Slick of Saginaw, MI; his mother Marlene and a host of family and friends.
Stewart is preceded in death by his father, Maynard Giles and his stepmother, Joyce, as well as his grand parents, Alvin and Mina Giles.
A memorial service will be held at 2pm Saturday, October 26 at the Veterans Memorial in Veterans Park on the waterfront in Boyne City, Michigan. Memorial donations may be made to the Northern Michigan Marine Corps League at the following address:Northern Michigan Marine Corps League Detachment 690 P.O. Box K, Petoskey, Michigan 49770