CSATARI email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-15 published
By Avery GUTHRIE, Susan CSATARI and Andrea CSATARI Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - Page A18
Son, brother, grand_son, avid reader, university student. Born September 14, 1981, in Mississauga. Died April 6, 2002, in Herstmonceux, Sussex, England, of a rare heart disorder, age 20.
The first thing most people noticed about Stephen was his height: 6 foot 8.
His rapid growth gave him a tendency to get tripped up by his own feet, often resulting in fairly spectacular falls and a constant awareness that door frames, light fixtures and, in one hilarious instance, a cowbell suspended from a beam, did not accommodate the free movement of someone of his stature.
His father, a manager at a computer consulting firm, and his mother, a nurse, were often told about Stephen's ability to absorb knowledge. His childhood babysitter clearly remembers him at age 5, happily reading the newspaper and telling her all about the day's big stories. Before he was 10 he'd gone through C. S. Lewis's Narnia chronicles and P. G. Wodehouse; he went on to history, biographies and novels by Michael Ondaatje, Stephen Fry and Kazuo Ishiguro.
His sister, Andrea, 22 months his junior, had little motivation to speak as a young child; she merely had to point and grunt, and Stephen would cheerfully communicate her desires to any adults at hand. A fine mimic -- Stephen did John CLEESE as Basil Fawlty he had an impeccable sense of comic timing. He also used his superior size to great advantage. He would sweep his girlfriend, Avery, off her feet and hold her upside-down (despite her protests). Grabbing Mum or Grandma for an unexpected polka around the kitchen was another favourite tactic of domestic disruption.
Stephen met Avery in Grade 7; they started dating in high school. At age 17, Stephen entered Queen's University to study history, a life-long passion he shared with his father.
He took courses in the Second World War, British, military, Russian and Chinese history, consistently placing at or near the top of his classes. His professors encouraged him to become an academic they told us his polite, understated way of sharing knowledge also won him much respect.
In 2002, Stephen and Avery went to study at Queen's International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, England, and enjoyed field trips to historical sites in Britain, France and Belgium (his fellow students nicknamed Stephen "tour guide" because of his store of knowledge).
On a sunny spring day in the last week of term, he went for a run along his favourite country lane, past hedgerows, an ancient church, and grazing sheep. The exertion triggered a severe rhythm disturbance of his heart, a rare hereditary problem of which he was unaware. Stephen collapsed. A local landowner, Rieke SCHWEITZER, grandnephew of Albert SCHWEITZER, found him and called the police.
Now that his family knows about what killed him -- arrythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia -- we are being closely monitored. In death, Stephen has been able to watch out for those he loved.
Stephen was intrigued by Churchill and Kennedy; he told Avery that they had accomplished more by age 20 than he, and worried that, if he were to die, no one would notice. Avery spoke of this at the funeral, which was attended by hundreds of Friends, family and teachers. They gave Stephen a standing ovation.
His potential will never be realized. But he is remembered for his intelligence and wit, for his generosity and loving nature. Mr. SCHWEITZER has placed a stone marker on the lane where Stephen fell.
Avery is Stephen's girlfriend, Susan and Andrea his mother and sister.
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