Donald Stewart

donald stewart
DONALD STEWART Aug 12, 1944 - Aug 10, 2013 Resident of San Jose FREMONT BUSINESS OWNER Don Stewart and his beloved wife, Gael, began their coffee roasting business called Mission Coffee Roasting in 1993. He became a community icon through his entrepreneurship, mentoring and philanthropy. He treasured his children, Jennifer (Jesse Ruiz) and Michael (Ashley Gutterman) and his grandchildren, Marley, Presleigh, and Mason and siblings, William, Richard and Carol. A native Californian born in Vallejo, he was a Marine veteran, a Milpitas police officer, and a Silicon Valley tech engineer prior to starting his Fremont business. He brought stability, joy and laughter to those whose lives he touched. He is gone, but he will never be forgotten. All are invited to a celebration of Don's life and contributions to the community on Tuesday, August 20 at 4:00 p.m. The event will take place on the grounds of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, 43326 Mission Boulevard, Fremont, CA (enter from Mission Tierra Place).

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Memories Timeline


  1. Gael….it has been a long time since we have seen you and Don, but we think of you both very often. Don taught Dan and I how to make a latte and froth milk and taught us about roasting. We remember our trip to Hawaii visiting the coffee plantations in Kona, great memories. We were both so sorry to hear about Don’s passing, Dan and I will always remember him and he will be forever missed in our community.

  2. My favorite memory of Don is the conversation we had after the smaller Mission Coffee closed and a Starbucks opened. On a napkin at Mission Coffee we came up with a plan. What we wanted to do was buy a bus for Mission Coffee. We would offer a ride to the other side of town and to the Starbucks for all those “campers” at Mission Coffee that stayed all day – used the internet and spent less than $3 on food at Mission Coffee. Don and I laughed for weeks every time I saw him. Gael and Don attended my wedding – they were my most special guest. With my deepest sympathy to the whole family. I am here if you need something. Just a Facebook chat away. With luv Judi

  3. I am sooo sorry to hear of Don’s passing. i will always remember him as a kind, cheerful, helpful man to young and old. My memories of him at San Jose Dance Theater are of a dedicated man to his family, the community and our young dancers. His smile and hugs were sincere and warm. He often brightened many parents, students and volunteers by his positive attitude and fun teasing.
    So glad that Tim and I had a chance to see him recently.
    I will forever remember him with respect and affection.
    I am so so sorry that I cannot attend his service. I will be out of town with my grandchildren.
    Fondly and with deep condolence to the family.

  4. Gael, Jen and Michael,
    I’m so sorry for your loss! I have so many fond memories of dancing with Jen and our San Jose Dance Theater family and you can’t have fond memories of that without thinking of Don and his smile! Through all the Nutcrackers I was involved in I always remember him being there, involved and his fun joking spirit. It always stuck out to me what a great dad he was and I’m sure you all know how lucky you were to have him in your lives.

  5. I was so sorry to hear about Don’s passing. I have such fond memories of him from our days at SJDT. He was always so warm, supportive, loving and just damned FUNNY. He never ceased to make me laugh and he always had such kind things to say. He was truly one of a kind and there is a huge void in this world without him. I’ll always have fond memories of him and the memories will always bring a smile to my face. You will be missed, Don!! My love and support goes out to Gael, Jen and Michael during this difficult time. xoxo

  6. I just learned of Don’s passing and I’m absolutely stunned. Don and went to Vallejo High School together and reconnected a couple of years ago. I last spoke to him about two weeks ago and now this…

    I’ll do my best to let his classmates know of his, way too early, passing. My condolences to the family as well as his extended family at Mission Coffee.

    Don… I’m already missing you.

  7. I grew up at Mission Valley Coffee & still visit everytime I’m in the Bay Area. Don will be missed greatly.

  8. I am so sorry to hear of Don’s passing. His presence in Fremont was such a positive one. He will be missed. May your good memories lessen grief.

  9. Dear Gael and family:

    I was saddened to hear of Don’s passing. When we worked together in Milpitas Don could be counted upon to bring a smile into the squad room to set that proper tone for our shifts. We have lost a fine man.

    Most respectfully,

    Lewis M. Ruddick

  10. Dear Gael, I was so stunned to hear of Don’s passing when I was at the coffee shop on Sunday. My sincere sympathy and deepest condolences to the family.
    May your greatest memories comfort all of you.

  11. Dear Gael, I was so stunned to hear of Don’s passing when I was at the coffee shop on Sunday. My sincere sympathy and deepest condolences to the family.
    May your greatest memories comfort all of you.

  12. Dear Gael, I was so stunned to hear of Don’s passing when I was at the coffee shop on Sunday. My sincere sympathy and deepest condolences to the family.
    May your greatest memories comfort all of you.

  13. Dear Gael and family, my deepest sympathy to all of you. My fondest memory of Don was the day he introduced me to his grandchildren. I will always remember the smile and light in his eyes. Rest in peace Don.

  14. Guys,
    You know how much I wish I could be there. As with everyone, we’re shocked as to Don’s passing. Since this is about memories, it’s easy. I will never forget the Xmas eve’s we all spent together. These were such a special part of my life and you guys and Don always made them special. I miss those days and I will sincerely miss Don.
    The only comfort we can take is that I’m sure he and my mom are up there chatting it up and looking down on all the rest of us with pride.
    He will be truly missed. Love you guys.


  15. I would like to send condolences to the family of Donald Stewart.

    May God Bless and be with all of you.

    Wish Sympathy

    Julie Regan

  16. Like many, I was shocked by Don’s passing. Still in shock. My first memory that came flooding back was the way Don and Gael took their MVCR kids under their wings. Many had hard lives at home, felt unloved, unappreciated, but Don and Gael were not only non-judgmental, they were kind enough to trust and see the potential and give those kids a chance. They gave them jobs, they gave them a sense of responsibility, discipline, and they gave them a surrogate family where they felt safe. For the first time, many of them felt like they belong to a loving family. They worked hard and aimed to please and did their jobs well. It was no surprise to hear many of them say, “I wish Don were my real dad.” I believe they saved a lot of those kids from certain, future, self-destruction by giving them these opportunities and just sitting sometimes and listening, and giving sound parental advice. With job skills that would help prepare them for the world and the love, understanding, and nurturing provided, it is no wonder why so many of the MVCRR “kids” have come back to pay their final respects to a great man and for some, a father figure.
    My thoughts and prayers are with Gael, Jen, Mike, and the rest of the Stewart Family. My heart is saddened.

  17. Such an amazing man who touched all who had the honor if knowing him. He will forever be in my heart and I send all my love to Gayle and the family. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  18. I haven’t seen Don, Gael, Jennifer or Michael in a number of years now, but that doesn’t mean any of them were out of my mind. The news of Don’s passing comes as a shock and reminder to keep friends and love ones close. Living across the street from the Stewarts on Behler Dr. in San Jose from the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s, we spent a lot of time together. Don was a very caring and kind man, a good friend and he enriched my and my family’s life greatly. He will be missed. My deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to Gael, Jennifer, Michael and all of Don’s family and friends who have lost a wonderful husband, father and friend.

    Paul Sagers

  19. Dear Gael,
    It is with a heavy heart that I write to you in sympathy at the loss of your wonderful husband. You were quite a team and I am thankful to have worked beside you and gotten to know both you and Don so well.
    I pray that he will be welcomed into eternity on the wings of angels and that those who went before him help him transition to the next world seamlessly.
    Blessings to your entire family.

  20. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Jen. I will be there today with a big hug and kiss for you!
    Lots of love,
    Jen (and Michael)

  21. I cannot find the words to express how much of a loss it is to lose such a wonderful man. Both Don and Gael were basically like surrogate parents to me for 2 years. Although I may or may not have made them proud during that time (like any teenager), they sure did mean a lot to me. I was shocked to hear that Don passed away. He was always a father figure to all those who hung out at MVCR. Its not very often that your bosses mean so much in your life. My families thoughts and prayers go out to the Stewarts to get through this tough time.

    Mike and Heather Saxe

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