ALLEGANY, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure University (SBU) is preserving the memory of Bob Stewart, OFM, an Italian language professor, by naming a nature trail on the campus in his honor.
Francis Woods, which remains untouched by much of the SBU community, gave Bob a lot of joy and comfort, even after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was often seen jogging at an enthusiastic pace, even while sick. He lost his fight to cancer in 2001.
“The only tragedy here is that time has gone by, and the students at St. Bonaventure don’t know Father Bob,” Brian McAllister, assistant professor of accounting, said at the opening ceremony for the trail on Oct. 1.
Since April, the Bob’s Woods trail has been cleaned up by BonaResponds, the university’s disaster relief group.
In addition to his love of nature, Bob is remembered both for the great friendships he forged and his enthusiasm for athletic activities. Many in the Province community may remember the calming beauty he found in nature.
While the project isn’t fully complete, BonaResponds has cleaned up the trail, built bridges and marked trees with tape to guide hikers through the path. Physical education classes have already used the trails for mountain biking. The trail is expected to be completed by next fall.
Pat Panzerella, a friend of Bob’s and an English professor, said, “Hopefully we can all find our own tree in Bob’s Woods that can give us the reassurance Bob did.”
A book by Bob, titled Making Peace with Cancer, A Franciscan Journey, was published by Paulist Press in 2001. It can be purchased from the SBU bookstore as well as from the St. Francis of Assisi store on West 31st Street in Manhattan (phone: 212-736-8500).