Posted by Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook on 10/09/2017

A Home Run for Ozzie and Everett Stewart

A Home Run for Ozzie and Everett Stewart

Oswald, Jr. (Ozzie) and Everett (‘Lil Stewie) Stewart grew up playing baseball. Their love for the game has lasted almost 80 years—and is only surpassed by their love for each other. 

Oswald and Everett’s father, Oswald Stewart, Sr., was a professional baseball player and managed the Washington Royals, a local Negro League team. Both brothers were talented players who enjoyed baseball careers spanning nearly 30 years, playing multiple positions for a range of teams, including the Washington Aztecs and the Washington Royals.

Oswald and Everett are native Washingtonians, who spent their young lives in Anacostia. During their baseball careers, the brothers traveled together along the east coast from Canada to Florida. In fact, the only time the brothers were far apart was when they were serving their country. Oswald served in the military during World War II, while Everett served during the Korean War.

“I was ‘Lil Stewie and he was Ozzie, and we were together for over eighty years,” Everett said of the brothers’ close relationship. “Except for the times we were in the service, we never lived further than an hour apart—and usually closer.”

Even after their baseball careers ended, both Oswald and Everett enjoyed a love for America’s pastime. They also always were each other’s best teammates and best friends—both on and off the field.

When Oswald started to experience health problems, Everett stepped in and invited his brother to live with him. And when Oswald was diagnosed with cancer, Everett realized that he could no longer care for his brother in his home, as he had been doing. He came to Mt. Vernon Nursing & Rehab Center (MVNRC), a 5-star Medicare rated center in Alexandria, Va.

At MVNRC, Everett found the medical and rehabilitative care his brother needed, as well as a community of caring and compassionate nurses, aides, rehab staff and others. MVNRC was the place that they would come to call home for more than four years. Everett has never regretted his decision to move his brother to MVNRC.

“I have never had a single complaint,” Everett said. “The move here was so smooth, and from day one, everybody couldn’t have been more supportive of Ozzie and me.”

As his illness progressed, Oswald received more intensive nursing care to meet his changing medical needs. Staff members also made sure that he remained active and engaged, according to his abilities. “The folks in the activity department would do anything Ozzie asked,” Everett said with a chuckle. “They were at his beck and call!”

One of Oswald and Everett’s more memorable events happened when MVNRC’s Administrator, Bob DeMaria, took a few of the residents, including Oswald and Everett, to a Washington Nationals baseball game. “He was absolutely in heaven and had a smile on his face the entire game,” Everett said. “It brought back a lot of wonderful memories for both of us.”

When Oswald was nearing the end of his life, the staff continued working especially hard to brighten his days. “Staff would come from all over just to talk and visit with him. He had so many wonderful and close relationships here,” Everett said.

MVNRC staff and residents honored Oswald after he passed away by holding a memorial service in his honor. The dining staff provided the food for the service, and it was attended by staff, administrators and residents alike. Ozzie had touched everyone at MVNRC in a special way.

Since his brother’s passing, Everett has remained an integral part of the MVNRC community. He visits with residents and staff at least twice a week.

At Mt. Vernon Nursing & Rehab, the Stewart brothers found the place where Oswald could get the care he needed—and where both brothers could feel at home and part of a family. That’s what they call a real home run!

By John Enten


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