Mike Stewart has been a traveling man since 1953.
He went to the Aleutian Islands with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey where they mapped the ocean floor and coastlines for six months.
Since then, he has spent more than 10 years in the South Pacific working with the Pacific Basin Assembly of God foreign missions. His work with the missions included building and repair projects.
His most recent mission took him to the Solomon Islands where he volunteered from last November until mid-May this year.
He lived in Hawaii for a number of years where he was in business with his father, supplying equipment to the shipping industry.
More recently he was with the Federal Emergency Management Agency doing disaster recovery work. That work brought him to Arizona during the floods of 1992 and 1993.
He liked the state so much he decided to buy a house here.
A friend told him he knew someone who had a house to sell in Mesa. So, Stewart went to see it, fell in love with it and bought it.
He also fell in love with the seller and married her.
The seller, Nancy, had a good-bye party and invited him. After he bought the house, Nancy's mail continued to arrive at the address, and they would get together so she could collect it. They started seeing each other socially and going to church together.
A couple of years later, they were married and she moved back into the house she had sold him. June 3 was their seventh anniversary.
After living in Mesa for three years, the Stewarts decided they would like to get out of the heat and began looking for a place in the mountains.
They started their search in Pinetop and Show Low and then made contact with someone who knew someone in the real estate business in the Rim country.
The first house they looked at was in Strawberry. They looked at several others, then asked to see the first house again.
The couple bought the place the same day they saw it.
Stewart moved into the Strawberry house in January 1999 and began making repairs. Nancy had to stay in Mesa until their other house was sold. She joined him in March and they have made the Rim country home since.
Editor's note - Stewart has had such an interesting life, the Roundup is planning two more stories with him.
Name: Mike Stewart
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Family: wife, Nancy, nine children and six step-children
Personal motto: Be open to go where the Lord leads
Inspiration: Billy Graham and the late Sam Sasser, a missionary well-known in the Pacific Basin; he went where he was needed in spite of illnesses and disabilities
Greatest feat: Working for the Lord, being able to go out and do what He has called me to do. None of it has been easy
My favorite hobby or leisure activity is ... Playing and listening to music like folk, country western, blue grass, the blues. Building model aircraft.
The three words that describe me best are ... Giving, caring (from Nancy), and tenacious (from Mike).
I don't want to brag but ... being able to work for God and meet the people I have met has just been awesome. I love being able to help people.
The person in history I'd most like to meet is ... Jesus.
Luxury defined: A good night's sleep.
Dream vacation spot: Alaska.
Why Payson and the Rim country? To be out of the heat and hectic life, to be in a beautiful place.