History of PASB
A Bit of History about PASB
Beverly Steward (Bev), the founder of the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara (PASB), affected with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) since her mid-20’s, put an ad in the Santa Barbara News-Press in August 1978 inviting anyone interested in starting a Parkinson’s group to attend a meeting. Forty-five people showed up at that first meeting! A steering committee was formed, and the fledgling organization commenced. During the early years, an answering machine in Bev and Lee Steward’s home was the only office equipment.
The Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara was the first Parkinson’s group in California. It was also the first PD group to become a non-profit corporation. Its Board of Directors and Officers have always served as volunteers, without salary.
It was decided early on that the mission of PASB was to serve individuals with PD, their families, caregivers, friends and supporters by providing up-to-date information related to PD, and to educate the general public on the nature of PD. It was also decided not to join any of the national Parkinson foundations/organizations, but lend moral support to all groups interested in helping people with Parkinson’s.
Early on also, it was decided not to charge mandatory membership dues in order to include everyone interested regardless of economic status.
The organization remains self-supporting, thanks primarily to the generous voluntary support of the general public.
The monthly meetings of the Association are informational with social interaction following. Invited speakers donate their time to address the Association meetings on a variety of topics of interest to those affected by PD.
The quarterly newsletter has always been sent, without cost, to anyone who requested it, regardless of location.
PASB has, on occasion, underwritten Meals-on-Wheels and home respite care of Parkinson patients in need.
Over the years, PASB has assisted in providing symposia on Parkinson’s for the medical community and the general public. PASB provides in-service training about Parkinson’s for health care providers and retirement homes.
Now, almost 30 years after that first meeting, the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara is an organization recognized nationwide as a positive, caring and effective resource for those with PD.
PASB and its members owe a debt of gratitude to PASB founder Beverly Steward and her ever-supportive husband, Lee, for their quiet guidance and effort over the years.
Bev was PASB’s Executive Director for many years and took an active interest in it as Board Member, Emeritus, until her death on May 9, 2006.
BEVERLY MAY STEWARD
November 30, 1923 – May 9, 2006
A Tribute to Bev by Jan Birzer, Board Member
After over 50 years of living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and surviving numerous mini-strokes, Bev departed this life leaving family, friends, Parkinsonians and caregivers appreciating the wonders of this great woman. This was apparent by the large number attending her celebration of life on June 17 at the Free Methodist Church in Santa Barbara.
It was Bev’s inspiration and leadership that lead to the formation of the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara (PASB) in August of 1978. Approximately 45 people attended an organizational meeting after seeing Bev’s invitation in the Santa Barbara News-Press. Bev acted as the Executive Director, a position she held until about 1991 when she retired. This was the first PD support group in California.. Eventually Bev helped to establish groups in Ventura, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo, California.
In 1981, Bev produced an audio exercise tape and started the weekly exercise group which then met at the Naval Armory. Bev was also instrumental in educating the PD community with reading and audiotape lending libraries. Throughout the years Bev helped in providing speech therapy, in-service for nursing professionals and Adult Education in-services, to mention a few.
In 1981, Bev attended the first PD leadership conference in Maryland. She attended meetings in Washington DC as an advocate to raise Congressional awareness for PD. In 1989, the Sid Dorros award for an outstanding PD support group was given to PASB. More recently the Parkinson Disease Foundation recognized PASB.
Although Bev was nationally known for her work to raise awareness of the disease, she was also a friend and mentor to all who attended the monthly PASB meetings. Her personal phone calls and visits showed her interest and concern. PASB is a better organzation thanks to Bev! We miss her, but all her good works live on in our organization!
OBITUARY IN SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS
BEVERLY MAY STEWARD
November 30, 1923 – May 9, 2006
Beverly (Bev) 82, passed away peacefully at Mission Terrace Convalescent Hospital on May 9th after a life-long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Beverly was born in Berkeley, California, to George and Olive Kirk. She grew up in Berkeley and attended UC Berkeley where she met Leland Steward. They married September 12, 1944, in Rhode Island while Leland was serving in the United States Navy.
Beverly and Lee moved to Santa Barbara in 1946 where they made their life and raised three children—Lynn, Kirk and Craig. She later completed her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Redlands.
She developed Parkinson’s Disease in her early 20’s. Supporting and informing others with this disease was her inspiration to found the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara (PASB) in 1978–the first Parkinson support group in California. She continued her leadership role until recently. Beverly was a life-long advocate for Parkinson’s research and funding. She volunteered as a subject for experimental treatment in 1974, which led to the approval of L-Dopa/Sinemet, which continues to be the gold standard for treatment of Parkinson’s today. She is renowned in the Parkinson’s Disease community nationwide for her public advocacy and her personal support of Parkinsonians and their caregivers.
Beverly was an artist, poet, writer, publisher, and world traveler. She was also active in hosting international foreign exchange students. She was a trusted friend, advisor, mentor and confidant of many and an inspiration to all who knew her.
Beverly is survived by Lee, her beloved husband and caregiver, three children, Lynn Ebersole (Douglas), Kirk Steward (Kathy) and Craig Steward (Maggie) and Zai Yang Li (Cathy). She was the proud grandmother of eight and great grandmother of two.
The family wishes to extend their appreciation for the warm and loving care given to Beverly by Dr. David Frecker, Dr. Paul Willis, and also the staff at Mission Terrace Convalescent Hospital.
Editor’s Note: A celebration of Beverly’s life was held June 17 at 2 p.m. at the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara. Beverly requested that her family and friends be happy and attend attired not in black, but in bright colors. In lieu of flowers, donations in her honor may be made to the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara, P.O. Box 6254, Santa Barbara, CA., 93160.