Stewart (Steve) Caldwell Stephens Jr., 88, of Fairbanks, passed away at home Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, surrounded by his loving family. He was born Feb. 27, 1930, in Greenville, Mississippi. Services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, at Fairbanks Lutheran Church. A reception will be held in the Borealis Room at Wedgewood after the service.
Steve arrived in Fairbanks in March 1952 with his cousin, who had been working in Alaska for a year and convinced him to drive up the Alaska Highway with him. He had no intention of staying until he met his future wife, Laura (Babe). They were married in the Fairbanks Lutheran Church in October 1954. His first job in Fairbanks was with Michael Baker Engineering, where he worked as a surveyor party chief. Then went on to work for Peter Kiewit Sons, which is now one of North America's largest construction and engineering firms. Steve remained with Kiewit for the rest of his career, retiring as Alaska area manager in 1987. In 1994, Steve helped his son, Rodney, establish his business, Rod's Saw Shop. He enjoyed the time he spent with his sons, Craig and Rod, and several of his grandchildren throughout the years at the shop. He could always be found at the front counter and met countless new friends.
Steve and Babe spent many wonderful summers with their family at their cabin on Harding Lake, where he enjoyed working on the cabin, taking the family for boat rides and water skiing. He never forgot the fun times he had with the Ziegler family and Nebraska boys building the boathouse. In 1978, they headed north and spent several summers in Central, where he and his family built a log cabin that they still enjoy. Steve loved to take his boys, friends and grandchildren grouse hunting. He especially loved to hunt with his longtime friend, Bert Sharp. He never failed to say, "This is God's Country," while driving over Eagle Summit. Steve and Babe also enjoyed spending many Christmas holidays with family and friends in their Hawaiian condominium.
Steve was honored to be involved in the Fairbanks community. He served in various leadership roles for the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation for 30 years, including president of the foundation from 1987-2005; he was on the Mt. McKinley Bank board of trustees; and president of AGC (Associated General Contractors) Alaska Chapter. Steve was a board member of the Alaska Goldpanners and enjoyed taking his family to games, always attending the Midnight Sun game with his boys. He was a Harding Lake Association member and a member of Pioneers of Alaska.
Steve was an avid sports fan and was a major supporter of the Alaska Gold Kings, Alaska Goldpanners, UAF Nanook Hockey and Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Steve and Babe rarely missed a hockey game. He loved to golf and curled in many bonspiels at the Fairbanks Curling Club.
Highlights of his life were when he and Babe traveled to Sweden with his son's hockey team and were delighted to visit their Swedish relatives. He also traveled with the Gold Kings to a tournament in Russia. He loved to watch his son-in-law Chuck Cartier play hockey. Steve coached his sons' basketball and baseball teams in their younger years and was their den leader in Boy Scouts.
Steve was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and admired by all. Steve is survived by his wife, Babe; his sister, Mary Virginia Miner, of Boulder, Colorado; his children, Sandra (Tom) Preshaw; Muriel Hufman; Steve (Tina) Stephens; David (Jana) Stephens; Lisa Cartier; Rodney (Sherri) Stephens; and Craig (Jonelle) Stephens; 26 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren. Steve also is survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews in Alaska and throughout the Lower 48. Steve was preceded in death by his father, Stewart C. Stephens; mother, Mary Virginia McCleary Stephens; brother, William Oscar Stephens; brothers-in-law, Clarence E. Miner, Bud, Bob and Einar Hagberg; Bill Becker; sisters-in-law, Bernice and Marilyn Hagberg; and mother-in-law, Laura Beltz Hagberg Wright.
Steve was a true Southern gentleman at heart and will be missed dearly by all that knew him. He was the family "Go-
To-Guy" and always willing to listen. He was a man of few words ... but his words were meaningful.
The family would like to express our sincere appreciation to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Hospice Services for the loving care given to Steve and our family during the past two months. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Steve's memory to the Greater Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 71396, Fairbanks, AK 99707 or in person at 1650 Cowles St., fifth floor.
Arrangements were entrusted to Blanchard Family Funeral Home.