Alden R. Stephens
Our Dad, Alden Randolph Stephens "Steve" passed away on July 6, 2020 at the age of 94. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Shirley Doris Stephens. Dad is survived by his daughter, Pamela Bradfield and husband Stephen, and daughter, Dianne Fournier and husband David. He has two grandchildren Gabriel and Caleb (wife, Adrianne). Dad has five great-grandchildren, Tyler Alden, Abigail, Michael, Asher and Isabel.
Dad grew up in San Carlos, California with his mother, Clara, his father, Alden (Ray) and sister, Clara Ray, After graduating from Sequoia High School in Redwood City in 1944, Dad joined the Navy at 17 and served in the South Pacific until the end of the war. He then headed home to marry the love of his life, his "cute little redhead" , Shirley Williams, a marriage that would last 53 years until her death in 2000.
Thanks to the GI bill Dad was able to graduate from Linfield College in McMinnville, OR. Along the way they were blessed with two daughters, Pamala was born in 1950 and Dianne in 1953 and we became a happy family of four. Dad loved his "girls" . Dad began his career with the YMCA as a program director in Ontario, California. He had great skills in working with troubled kids and helping them turn their lives around. A couple of those kids are still friends today. Robert "Bud" Sheble was one of those kids at 14. He later pursued a career with the YMCA. His oldest son is one of those named after Dad, Matthew Alden. Bud and Dad were friends to the end.
In 1958, Dad became the Executive Director of the Hoquiam, Washington YMCA. We packed up to leave beautiful Southern California with its beaches and Disneyland to an area with 63 inches of rain a year! Dad became a leader for youth development in the area and was instrumental in promoting Youth and Government, a state-wide program still operating today. The Hoquiam YMCA was a diverse program with summer camping at Camp Kiwanis on Lake Quinault. Dad had a great time with tree swings and campfire stories. He was in his element.
In 1964, Dad was presented with the chance to develop a YMCA from the ground up. This was a challenge he couldn't pass up, so we all headed off to Corvallis, Oregon. Dad developed youth programs and continued with the Youth and Government program. He supervised the first stage of the YMCA building with a swimming pool and racquetball courts. Dad quickly taught himself to play racquetball and was never beaten. He had a killer serve!
In 1976 Dad chose to take the position of General Manager at Camp Collins in Gresham Oregon, part of the YMCA of the Columbia-Willamette. He and mom truly loved it at camp. They became avid bird watchers and took their scope down to the Sandy River each morning to watch all the wildlife. Dad took responsibility for all the cats, dogs and 1 rabbit that were abandoned at camp. Dad would take them to the local vets and then find homes for them. As of last count, 34 cats and 9 dogs have found homes. Dianne and I helped the cause by each taking a cat. Dad loved his pets from his wolf dog he had when he was 5 to the rescued Rhodesian Ridgeback he had in his 80's. Dad kept watch over camp from his golf cart "Joey" in his WWII ball cap.
One of Dad's most rewarding connections in Gresham was becoming a member of the local Rotary Club. He found such good friends and inspiration there. He served as the club's secretary for many years and jumped right into the annual steak fry, wine auction and Camp Collins clean up.
Dad was close to Terry and Charles Ciecko, their two boys, Scott and Bryan and their families who lived in the Camp Collins-Oxbow Park area. Scott's son Theodore Alden, is one of three with the middle name of Alden. Quite a tribute! The entire Ciecko family played an important part in Dad's life. He was affectionately known as "Grandpa" .
The first priority in moving to a new city was finding a church to join. Gresham was no exception. Dad became a member the First Baptist Church of Gresham and served as an usher and greeter for many years. His faith was an essential part of who he was and how he lived his life.
One of the final projects Dad took on was writing his autobiography, I Remember When. He had it bound into a nice paperback and we had a signing party at the Courtyard Fountains, his new home. Dad developed a newfound talent at 92 years!
Humor and a good joke were part of his every day. I've seen him reduced to tears by one of Bud's stories. They really enjoyed each other. Dad had a repertoire of favorite jokes which he didn't mind sharing over and over again. Laughter truly defined him.
Dad provided guidance to many whether it be a teenager or adult. He had many good friends in many places. When we asked him who he wanted to invite to his 90th birthday party, he presented me with a list of 120 of his closest friends - 125 showed up for the celebration!
Alden - Steve - Dad - Grandpa - Great Papa, you will be missed by many.
With love, Pam, Dianne and family.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a proper memorial service is sadly indefinitely postponed. We ask that any remembrance be sent to your favorite animal shelter.