Dee Stewart studied math and architecture, and worked as journalist, an architectural preservationist and an IT consultant before her heart lead her in a different direction.
After a diagnosis of peripartum cardiomyopathy in 2000, which later resulted in heart failure, one of Ms. Stewart’s doctors suggested she write to get her mind off of her health problems. And not only did she write, but she learned the technical aspects of the craft, and turned what could have been a hobby into a career.
“She started with health articles and short stories,” said MeLana Jones, her younger sister. “And then she moved on to a book. Now she’s got two.”
Under the pen name Miranda Parker, Ms. Stewart authored two books, “A Good Excuse to Be Bad,” published in June 2011, and “Someone Bad and Something Blue,” released in June 2012, both part of the Angel Crawford Bounty Hunter Series she’d started.
Though Ms. Stewart’s heart continued to deteriorate over the past 12 years, she didn’t miss a beat with her daughter, Selah Skye Stewart, and she kept writing.
“Over the past month or two, her heart had dropped to 25 percent,” said her mother, Dorothy Stewart. “And she was preparing to have a pacemaker put in [Oct. 8].”
But on Oct. 5, three days before the surgery, Davidae Yolanda Stewart, known a Dee by friends and Vida by family, collapsed at her Covington home and died. She was 39.
A funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Hahira, just north of Valdosta. Scott & Roberts Mortuary Inc., Valdosta, is in charge of arrangements.
Ms. Stewart graduated from Agnes Scott College in the ‘90s with a degree in architecture. She had a creative spirit and loved to draw and paint, her sister said. And though she never designed buildings, she was the architect of several intriguing stories, friends and family said.
While writing was a big part of Ms. Stewart’s life, and it even functioned as part of her heart therapy, so to speak, it all paled in comparison to the energy she put into her daughter Skye.
“I used to get on her a lot, tell her she didn’t have to do everything,” Ms. Jones said, of her sister. “But she was like mom was with us, she was always there for us, and she always wanted to be there for Syke.”
Friends described Ms. Stewart as a “supermom,” who only wanted to make life better for her daughter, while she could.
“She was always so busy, always helping, always going,” said friend and fellow author Rhonda McKnight. “But what I realized was, Dee knew she was living on borrowed time, and she wanted to make sure every moment counted.”
In addition to her daughter, mother and sister, Ms. Stewart is survived by her father, David Stewart of Howell; and twin brother David V. Stewart of Fort Valley.
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