Focus online: Turning tragedy into triumph: Thomas Shearer Stewart, BCL 1908


Left blind by a botched eye operation at the age of 16, Thomas Shearer Stewart nevertheless graduated from the Faculty in 1908, winning the Faculty’s gold medal award for academic excellence. His granddaughter, Lesley Stewart, tells his remarkable story.

Thomas Shearer Stewart was born in Prince Albert, located in what were then the Northwest Territories, on October 25, 1882. Following the sudden death of his father, William Stewart, in 1884, his mother returned with her three young children to Montreal, where she remarried nine years later.

As a young boy, Tom had injured his right eye and, in 1899, when he was 16, he severely injured the same eye. A doctor was summoned to the family’s country home in Beaconsfield but, much to the horror of Tom’s family, the surgeon removed the good eye, leaving Tom totally blind...

Read the rest in Focus online, October 2011.