Steve Trew

By Fred Langan

Steve Trew was the principal of Knowlton Academy for 18 years and a well-known actor and director with the Knowlton Players. Steve, who died suddenly at the age of 80, was the director of the upcoming production of With Love Johnny for the Knowlton Players.

“He has been part of the group from the beginning,” says Danny McAuley of Knowlton Players. “Steve just loved the stage. He was in nearly every production. He loved improvising and playing with the audience to get a laugh. He was so excited about the show coming up. Steve was doing something he loved until the end.”

James Stephen Trew was born in February of 1942 in Magog. He was the only child of James Clayton Trew, who worked at Dominion Textile, and Jean Dearsley, a homemaker. Steve graduated from high school in Magog and took a one-year teacher’s course in Fredericton, New Brunswick, before enrolling at Bishop’s University. At Bishop’s, he was heavily involved in theatre, as he would be all his life. After graduating, he went to Europe and worked as a bicycle courier in London, England, spending nights at theatres in the cheap seats, soaking up as much drama as he could. When he returned to Canada, he started his 35-year teaching career at Waterloo, then at Cowansville High School. When Massey Vanier opened in 1969, Steve taught English and history there and became one of Massey Vanier’s vice-principals. 

Steve was named principal of Knowlton Academy in 1982 and stayed there until his retirement in June of 2000. “He enjoyed his years at Knowlton Academy. It was like a big family,” said his wife, Janie, who was a teacher at the school. The couple moved to Knowlton in 1968.

At the time, the school functioned as a kind of community centre, with everything from AA meetings, dog training sessions and Lions Club meetings in the evening.

“Every (grade 7) secondary one student was in a play as part of the language arts program,” said his wife. “Steve was involved in theatre all his life.”

Steve Trew is survived by his wife Janie, their son Jordan, daughter Sara and three grandchildren, Maya, Reilly and Tristan. Their daughter Christy died in a tragic accident in 1989.

A celebration of Steve’s life will be held at Theatre Lac-Brome, 9 chemin Mont Echo, on Sunday, October 30 at 2pm