Steve McCombs

April 16, 1949 ~ November 11, 2022 (age 73)


Here is an obituary and picture for Steve McCombs, the family would like it to run Tuesday 11/22, Please Thanks Dawn Our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Stephen Richard McCombs of Delta Junction, Alaska, passed away from complications of emergency surgery on Friday, November 11, 2022 at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. He was 73 years young.

Steve was born April 16,1949 to Chuck and Patti McCombs in Bremerton, Washington, the eldest of three brothers. The McCombs home was always a lively one, and life centered around the three towheaded boys who grew up learning how to work together, have fun and cherish family. Steve was thrilled that all three brothers remained the closest of friends their whole lives. He was a proud graduate of the Bremerton Highschool class of 1967 and a recent trip to attend his 50th high school reunion was a highlight of his life. He continued his education at the University of Washington, majoring in History, his favorite subject. He received his Master’s degree in Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

Steve accepted his first teaching job in 1977 in the village of Sand Point in the Aleutian Islands. He taught a variety of subjects and grade levels, ran the school/community library and was an avid supporter of the Sand Point Eagles basketball team. As he did his whole life, he saw a need and found a way to fill it. He secured funds to construct a small television station so interested students could learn a new skill. He was so proud that several of them went on to careers in broadcasting. He also secured funds to build an antenna tower and translator so the island could have it’s own radio station for the first time and he could listen to A Prairie Home Companion. It made him so happy that KSDP is still broadcasting today. Whenever he was asked why he’d go to such an isolated place to begin his teaching career, he’d always calmly reply “I want to teach kids, I want to see whales and I want to make a difference."

Steve married fellow graduate student and teacher/librarian Joyce Foss, in 1980 and they lived in Sand Point until they welcomed their son Dave in 1982. They moved toDelta Junction in 1983 where he began his tenure in Delta Greely Schools as Librarian at Fort Greely School. The greatest joys in Steve’s life were home, family and teaching.

Over the years Steve saw many ways to help his community. He was a cub Scout leader and the winning Pinewood derby design he and Dave came up with lives on in legend. He helped with Wavemakers Swim team, and attended many meets, hauling gear, kids and snacks to pools all over the Interior in the Big Blue Suburban. His time on the Rural Deltana Volunteer Fire Department was a turning point. He trained hard and became a strong advocate for fire safety and preparedness. Fire Department Bingo night was often a long one after a day of wrangling students, though he rarely missed his Monday night caller gig. His joy was genuine when someone won the big jackpot. His fire career eventually led him to work for Delta Area Forestry as a Wildland Fire Dispatcher. His radio dispatch voice was heard on fires large and small all over Alaska, as well as at home where Joyce could keep track of him on the scanner.

Throughout his life Steve was one of those people who just “showed up.” He would see something that needed to be done, fixed, figured out, nailed up, sawed down, moved or set up and he’d lend a hand with a joyful heart and positive attitude. His most recent efforts were directed at helping the Delta Trails Association and the Delta Library Association get their procedures, finances and goals set with an eye to the future. His favorite word for the past couple of years was “Legacy”. It was important to him to leave the world better than he found it so his son, and grandson, and everyone else in the Delta Junction community he loved could enjoy our unique part of Alaska.

Steve is survived by his cherished wife of 41 years, Joyce; and beloved son Dave McCombs, daughter-in-law Tawnia Butorac-McCombs and grandson Trek McCombs, all of Delta Junction; brother John (Terri Quinlan) McCombs of Ninilchik, Alaska; niece Maureen McCombs Todd (Garrett) and great-niece Evelyn and great-nephew Evan Todd of Soldotna, Alaska; Leslie Wilson (Grey) and great-niece Lennon of Ninilchik; brother Don McCombs (Sidney Rockwell) and nephews Brett and Daniel McCombs of Seattle. 

Steve received extraordinarily kind, attentive, and professional care from the nursing staff in the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital ICU. Nurses Megan, Kirsten, Shayna and Rebecca have our eternal gratitude. Doctors Conley, Hanley, Livengood and Swenson made a powerhouse team that kept us informed every step of the way, cheered each small success, and sincerely mourned with us when Steve’s life came to a gentle end. His ashes will be scattered along one of his favorite kayak routes on the Clearwater. We are grateful to Blanchard Family Funeral Home for their care and help with arrangements.

Please join Steve’s family at a memorial on Saturday, November 26 at 3:00 p.m. at the Delta Community Center. To further his dream of local legacy, donations in his name can be made to Delta Junction Trails Association (Box 710); Rural Deltana Volunteer Fire Department (Box 524); or Delta Library Association (Box 179), Delta Junction, AK99737.

The McCombs family is deeply honored that this year’s Sullivan Roadhouse lighting ceremony, scheduled for 5:30 downtown, will include a moment of silence in his memory. The Sullivan lighting was his favorite winter event and will be a wonderful way to let the light of his beautiful life shine on in our hearts. 

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