NORWALK, Conn. — Sharon Stewart, known to many for her passionate efforts to help others and for being a good person, died Tuesday at age 64 after a long illness.
Stewart served on the Common Council from 2013 to 2015 and was a Democratic Town Committee member.
“She was a wonderful person; she loved her community. I think the best part of her journey was when she was able to serve the underserved of Norwalk,” said her sister, Sonja Oliver.
“Sharon was a well-liked person who was known throughout the Norwalk community,” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “In addition to her service on the Common Council, she dedicated many hours helping others in need. On the Council, she always engaged in discussions on major issues with thoughtfulness and extreme insight. Her contributions were many. The City of Norwalk extends our deepest condolences to Sharon’s family. She will be missed.”
Town Clerk Rick McQuaid, who served many years on the Common Council before being elected to his current paid position called Stewart, “Truly one of the best people I have worked or served with.”
Stewart was born in Savanah, Ga., and raised in South Norwalk as the third of eight children, Oliver said. She lived in South Norwalk her entire life, traveling to Springfield on weekends to get a master’s degree in social work from Springfield College while working fulltime Monday-Friday at Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON), Oliver said.
“There was no one she would turn her back on,” Oliver said, recounting Stewart calling her the night before one Thanksgiving, at 10 p.m., to say she knew a family that had no food for a holiday feast and asking for help to fix that situation. “We delivered it to that family, turkey included. That’s the stuff that made her happy, when she could to do that.”
In 2013, at an East Norwalk candidates’ forum, Stewart said, “I get to see first-hand the other side of the people’s plight and what’s going on. I would like to see better job prospects. I would like to see us not have so many box stores because the box stores aren’t really paying any salaries that are making it easier to live in Norwalk.”
Stewart ran at large, although she was an active District B Democrat.
“We are so saddened by the news of Sharon Stewart’s passing,” Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez said Thursday in an email sent to the DTC. “…She served as a member of different boards and commissions including the S.N.E.W Ethics Commission and the Planning and Zoning Appeals board.”
First Taxing District Commissioner Jalin Sead, commenting on Facebook, said that when he decided to get involved in politics, he met with several elected officials, including Stewart.
“From that day on Ms. Stewart always offered advice, support, or jokes. Ms. Sharon Stewart was a strong advocate for the community, a humble yet powerful servant of the people,” Sead wrote.
Stewart had no offspring but “all” of her approximately 30 nieces and nephews “were her children,” Oliver said. She loved hanging out with her family, especially her mother.
“She loved to read; she would read anything,” Oliver said. “When we were kids, I used to laugh at her and say, ‘What is your problem?’ Because she was getting a newspaper sent to her from various places.”
A visitation will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. April 23 at the Raymond Funeral Home at 5 East Wall St., followed by a funeral service from 10 to 11 a.m.
“Sharon made it her life’s mission to serve our community and she will forever be remembered for that,” Melendez said. “It was an honor to know Sharon and to work with her on the Council together. We are praying for Sharon’s family and loved ones.”
Updated, 1:20 p.m.: More information. April 30: Obituary added.