Today I attended the funeral for Rob Stewart.
Rob was an environmentalist and filmmaker with a passion for sharks and a unique ability to make other people care about the same things he did.
The first time I heard of Rob Stewart was back in ninth grade when my science teacher showed the class Sharkwater. It completely changed my world.
I was lucky enough to get to meet Rob once at a screening for his second film, Revolution. I was about fifteen at the time and beyond terrified to speak to him. How often do we get to meet someone we idolized and looked up to?
Despite my nerves, Rob was incredibly nice. He spoke to me for a few minutes, signed my copy of his book, and took a photo with me. It’s a moment in my life I’ve never forgotten and will cherish even more now.
When I heard the news Rob had gone missing I thought it had to be a joke. One of those horrible hoaxes you hear about on Facebook or Twitter. But then I realized it was his own page that had posted and it wasn’t a joke.
For those three days I constantly checked Facebook, the news, anywhere I could to see any updates about what was going on. I hoped beyond hope that he would be found safe.
When the news came on Friday that he had been found I was heartbroken. It didn’t feel real. I just couldn’t believe that this man who had had so much affect on the world and who still had so much left to do, was suddenly gone.
My heart goes out to his parents, sister, the rest of his family, and his friends.
It also goes out to everyone who admired Rob and all the work he did to affect change.
I would also like to thank his family for opening his funeral to the public. Being given the chance to hear everyone speak of him and say goodbye was something I didn’t think I would have the chance to do and it meant more than they will ever know.
Rest in Peace Rob Stewart