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Obituary for William "Steve" Leonard Stephens

William Leonard Stephens was born in Covington, Kentucky on April 19, 1929 and was raised mainly in California. He graduated from high school and Junior College at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico.
Steve enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1950 and rose to the rank of Hospitalman II. Two of those 4 years were spent assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as a Navy Corpsman which included 1 year on lines in Korea. He was discharged in 1954.
He next attended California State University, Sacramento, graduating with a B.S. with honors in biology in 1957.
In 1957 he was also lucky enough to marry Claire Neall Motsinger. Steve and Claire moved to Davis, CA where Steve used a research assistantship at University of California, Davis, to earn his PhD in microbiology while Claire worked on her PHT (Putting Hubby Through) in the Agronomy Dept.
Upon graduation in 1963, Steve became a professor of Microbiology at California State University, Chico. During his 31 years there, Steve held the administrative positions of Chair, Dept. of Biological Sciences for 6 years, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences for 14 years, and University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for 2-1/2 years prior to retirement in 1994.
Steve and Claire moved to the coast at Florence, Oregon where they built a beautiful home at the mouth of the Siuslaw River, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After 12 years of enjoying sea breezes, they moved to McMinnville, Oregon and Hillside Brookdale Community where they were extremely happy.
Steve and Claire enjoyed numerous travels during their married life including Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, England, portions of Europe, and Alaska, to name a few. Steve enjoyed working outdoors, spending every possible moment creating beautiful Japanese Style gardens.
Steve is survived by his wife of 60 years and sister Mary Carlyle (Donald). No memorial service is planned at this time.


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