Kuna woman lived with kidney failure and dialysis treatment for more than 30 years

Although Carole Stewart was diagnosed with kidney failure, received four-hour dialysis treatments three times a week for almost 30 years and survived three kidney transplants, her death at age 62 was completely unexpected, family members said.

She went in for a routine antibiotic procedure on March 7 to help battle a staph infection.

"Thursday morning, on (March) 8, around 1:30 a.m., (hospital staff) said that her heart was giving out and her blood pressure was up," said son Todd Stewart. "Me, my sister and Dad were all there when she died."

It was a bittersweet end to a life that wasn't overshadowed by pain. Rather, Carole Stewart's life will be best remembered for the happiness of seeing her grandchildren's first steps, camping in Cascade every weekend for years, and the 44-year love affair she shared with her husband, David.

"Even though I wanted to express what she went through with kidney problems, she was probably more vibrant and active than some normal people," said daughter Shelli Spengler. "She just had that attitude and strong will."

Carole Stewart was born May 2, 1944, in Nebraska. Her family moved to Nampa in 1958, and she graduated from Nampa High School. She was 18 when she married David Stewart March 12, 1963.

"We did a lot of camping when I was young," Spengler said. "She loved fishing and the outdoors.

"My little brother was a baby when we moved to Kuna. We raised pigs and horses and I always enjoyed being out with the animals, and mom always had a really nice garden."

Stewart began having kidney problems when she was 32. She received her first kidney transplant in 1977, and her second a year later. Her brother Roy gave her his kidney in 1978, Spengler said, "but she went back on dialysis because it only worked for four days.

"Her third transplant was in 1990 and it worked for almost 11 years. This was good, because her first grandchild was born that year."

"She was a person that would put her family first. She was a person that was really giving," said Todd Stewart. "I always offered to give her a kidney of my own, but she always said no. She didn't want mine in case something happened to me."

The new kidney provided Stewart the ability to attend her grandchildren's dance recitals and football and baseball practice. Watching them grow was motivation enough to endure the weekly dialysis treatments.

"All through her life she enjoyed what she could," said Carole's mother, Nora Schmidt. "I believe I felt every pain she had. I'm going to miss her terribly. I loved her very much, and she is in a better place with no misery now."

In Remembrance is a weekly profile of a local resident who has recently died. Contact reporter Monique Bosolet at mbosolet@idahostatesman.com or 672-6716.