The recipe behind Stew Leonard’s love story
NORWALK, CT (WFSB) - All week long we’re focusing on finding love.
On this Valentine’s Day love is in the air.
Our own married couple Roger Susanin and Stephanie Simoni are here now sharing stories of noteworthy local couples who found love.
Eyewitness News is celebrating by introducing you to three well known couples and telling you how they met.
Eyewitness News is introducing you to the owners of Stew Leonard’s.
Kim and Stew Leonard have been married almost 40 years.
Eyewitness News went to Norwalk to see how they’ve made the spark last nearly 4 decades.
Stew Leonard’s personality is one of a kind. Just ask his wife Kim!
“He was just unlike anyone I had ever met,” Kim said.
Married since 1983, they run the Stew Leonard’s chain of grocery stores.
But this fairy tale, which began when they were both students at UCLA, almost never began.
“I called Kim numerous times cause she kept saying nope nope nope nope,” said Stew.
Stew finally convinced Kim to give him a shot.
“I picked her up, I got approved at the door barely!” Stew said. “Kim had hot legs and was cute and fun. We just had a great time.”
Kim didn’t mention Stew’s legs, but she did notice a spark.
They went to a party and even made up a tall tale about how they met.
“We just started to make up this story that we had been childhood friends and all of a sudden we saw each other in the halls and we wove this big story and we were just having so much fun,” Kim said. “We had everyone at our table just ohhh this is so amazing!”
They got married a year later, grew the business and their family.
Then, tragedy struck.
“I remember all of a sudden I was home and I had been a mother of two and all of a sudden I’m just a mother of one,” Kim said.
They lost their 21-month-old son, Stew the third, in 1989 when he drowned in a pool.
Over the years they turned their pain into purpose, setting up a charity that funds 10,000 swimming lessons a year for disadvantaged kids.
“We can’t do anything about losing our son but we can try to help others,” they said.
They even wrote a book, Stewie the Duck, which teaches kids about water safety. This summer they’ll open a Stewie the Duck swim school in Norwalk.
“I think it’s really consoling for me I know you too Kim, when you hear these great stories about how our son is looking down and he’s probably smiling right now and going yeah, good job,” said Stew.
A beautiful important legacy after nearly 40 years of marriage that started with two college kids and a one-of-a-kind love story.
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