Meet the man behind S & R Sawmills

Chick Stewart will be signing copies of his new memoir in Langley Oct. 21

Meet the man behind Surrey’s successful S & R Sawmills next weekend during a special event in Langley.

Chick Stewart will be signing copies of his new memoir, It Can Be Done: An Ordinary Man’s Extraordinary Success, along with co-author Michele Carter, at Coles in Willowbrook Shopping Centre on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

His new book, recently released by Harbour Publishing, describes Stewart’s journey from humble beginnings to establishing himself among the B.C. lumber industry’s most respected entrepreneurs, while also providing an inside look at one of the province’s most valuable industries.

His story illustrates that with hard work, a bit of luck and prioritizing relationships over profit, one can be successful and achieve one’s dreams without sacrificing personal integrity.

After relocating to Vancouver from a chicken farm in Manitoba in 1942, Stewart began his mill career at age 15, straightening boards in the Youbou Mill on Vancouver Island. In 1963, Stewart took a chance and bought the first of S & R Sawmills with friend Vic Rempel. Their quality cuts earned them steady work, and S & R Sawmills grew from one custom cutting mill to five along the Fraser River, with a workforce of more than 500 people.

It Can Be Done is also the story of Stewart’s personal life and includes tales of childhood escapades, like trick-or-treating for potatoes, and other adventures, such as how he got a pilot’s license after flying in a plane that was literally falling apart into his lap.

Stewart shares emotional milestones, too, from meeting his wife, Marilyn, in an ice cream shop in Fort Langley — to which they returned 50 years later — to family vacations at the Stewart’s cabin, which was built at S & R’s B mill and later moved to Gossip Island.

Stewart also recalls his early love of golf that eventually inspired him to build the Northview Golf Course in Surrey — a venture that was not without its challenges — with the help of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. In 2007, the Stewarts fulfilled a long-time dream with the opening of the Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Surrey, a project that held sentimental importance for Chick and Marilyn and continues to be a leading example of patient care and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in B.C.

It Can Be Done is available in stores now, and royalties form all sales will be donated to charity. For more info, visit

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