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Obituary for Steve Stern


photo-10Steve Stern was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 22, 1962, into a family of great faith and global reach. Before his first birthday, he was on a plane headed for Abraka, Nigeria, where he would spend the formative years of his childhood. Steve loved his life in Africa and would later relish telling his children stories of strange pets, swimming in rivers on hot days and living through the Biafran war. His family moved back to Detroit in 1970 and eventually on to Danville, Illinois, where Steve attended Danville High School graduating in 1980. In 1981 he packed up his Saab and moved to Portland, Oregon to attend Portland Bible College. There he met and married his wife, Bo. They honeymooned in Central Oregon and quickly began dreaming of the day they might make a life there. That day came in 1995 and Bend, Oregon has been home ever since.


unnamedSteve had many brilliant achievements in his life. He was a great golfer and businessman, a successful pastor – but he always believed that his best accomplishment was his family. He was unspeakably proud of Corey and Whitney Parnell, Victoria, Tess and Josiah Stern and he loved being Papa to his grandsons, Greyson and Phineas.


10598369_698938493527512_1406439057_nIn 2011, Steve was diagnosed with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis. That’s when he became a hero. He battled the treacherous disease with bravery, humor and determination. He stayed fiercely in love with God and committed to being a faithful and loyal friend, dad and husband, even in the midst of his suffering. He used all his minutes and muscles on the people he loved most and continued to develop new, important relationships up until his last breath on July 18, 2015.


imageSteve is survived by his wife and children, his mother, Eleanor Stern, one sister, Susan David and brothers Philip and Jonathan Stern. He was greatly anticipating the prospect of heaven – especially seeing his dad, Paul Stern, who preceded him in death.


photo-2The impact of Steve Stern’s life, faith and love cannot be contained by words on a page, but it is reflected in his family and the many who were blessed to call him friend. His19,445 days on this earth were a gift that he opened and lived out with joy.


A celebration of life will be held on July 24th at 1:00 at Westside Church.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to help with medical and funeral expenses.




July 24, 2015 - 8:36 am

Leilani Haywood - I’ve followed your journey through this valley for several years. I’ve wept with you, prayed with you and I’m weeping now. May God carry your family during this time.

July 24, 2015 - 8:40 am

Angie Tolpin - Bo,
I have followed a little of your families journey the past year through Facebook and stories from mutual friends and I wanted to thank you all for bringing our Father in heaven glory through all the circumstances, the trials, the struggles, and the pain you have experienced. I am sure there were hard, hard, hard days, but even in those Jesus was magnified and that is beautiful even in the midst of all the hard. Know that our family is praying for you and thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ like you that can shine so brightly.
May He Comfort You

July 24, 2015 - 9:15 am

Jess Lederman - Dear Bo,
I can feel my own heart break all over again; and yet, with your example, and Steve’s, and that of my late wife Teri, and above and beneath and beside us all, Jesus Christ, I have joy. Please let me know the address for donations.

July 24, 2015 - 9:22 am

Amber - Please let me know where we can send a donation to. Sending up prayers for comfort and peace to your family, and anyone who was touched by Steve’s greatness.

July 24, 2015 - 9:36 am

Kristin Motter - Beautiful man. Beautiful family. Love and prayers are with you all through this horrifically painful, glorious time.

July 24, 2015 - 9:56 am

Ben & Michelle Earwicker - We are celebrating Steve’s life and impact with you! So sorry for your loss and the difficult days of grief. Love from the Earwickers. – Ben, Michelle, Nyah, and Renn

July 24, 2015 - 10:18 am

Marilee Rodgerson - My heart aches for you and your family as you’ve had to say good- bye here on this earth. Your words, your witness and your faithfulness to God through this horrific journey is witnessed by those who know you from up close and afar. I’m praying for you and your dear family as you walk these days, weeks and beyond with forever changed lives. Knowing God is being ever present.

July 24, 2015 - 11:03 am

Loni Vander Stel - Dear Bo – I have read your book, Beautiful Battlefields, and wept, and agreed through it, as our lives have been mutually through valleys, but with the Great Shepherd. I pray for the continued peace that passes ALL understanding, that your blessed memories of your husband and thinking of him dancing in heaven, lift your spirits, when the years of missing him collide with your heart. May your new normal begin with peace and beauty and the anticipation that it will be a short new normal and in a blink of the eyes, there will be eternal reunions.

July 24, 2015 - 12:03 pm

Janet Beier - Bo I am very new to your battle. I feel i know you through your book – I actually went to Bible college with Steve and he was my drive to work and all I can remember was his smile and his crazy driving! My mom and dad are visiting and brought your book. I had read 2 chapters and then mom found out he went to be with the Lord. I want you to know that i have been in a 7 year battlefield with my love for Parkinsonism (long term complication of a car accident) like Steve a healthy strapping guy who could do anything. Let’s just say i was doubting my ability to endure! Now John and I are reading this book together and say we are on the road to recovery in our relationship. Prayers for peace.

July 24, 2015 - 6:55 pm

Arlene Cox - Please send an address for a donation.
Bo, you graciously GAVE me a copy of “Beautiful Battlefields” when you were the speaker at women’s night of worship at New Heights Church in Vancouver, WA., when you found out that a family member of mine was going through ALS.

Blessings as you go through the battlefield of grief, the celebration of life well lived, and joy of knowing that you will see him again.

In Jesus’s love,

July 24, 2015 - 11:02 pm

Gretchen Wells - An absolutely Beautiful tribute to your husband today! Bless you friend! Many many prayers for you all!!

July 25, 2015 - 4:49 am

Dawn Pieper - Dear Bo and Family,

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved husband, father, son and brother. You are correct Bo when you say “the impact of Steve’s love, faith and life cannot be measured by words on a page”. The words on the page are a small tribute to the amazing impact his life has had. God be praised for your willingness to share Steve’s life and your journey. You have impacted thousands. You have impacted me. Thank you.

Unfortunately,I am intimately familiar with grief. Losing a brother and two cousins at the age of six. Then I faced my parents dying in a car accident when I was twenty five. Writing is a healing balm as you grieve.

I am praying for all of you to feel the arms of your Savior in each hug and letter you get. Heaven is a place each of you will long for! Steve is lavishing every moment. Those left behind are faced with the heartache and hope.

July 26, 2015 - 10:23 am

Jody Collins - What a party there must be in Heaven!

July 28, 2015 - 10:08 am

Lorie - I’m so sad to hear of your loss; your love for Steve was magnificent and precious. I’ve also been following your journey after hearing you on the radio sharing your story. Thank you for bearing your soul and not holding back on the raw emotion you went through in your blogs … I’ve been encouraged from your example and try to face my own trials with, hopefully, the same grace that’s so evident in you as you shared your experience so courageously. I’ll continue to pray for your and your family as you face the days ahead. I know the Presence of Jesus will be with you each day without fail just as He was during Steve’s illness—and probably more so. You are in my thoughts every day.

August 5, 2015 - 7:09 pm

Krista - Bo
I’m just now reading that Steve has passed on. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and always want to comment and then I never do bc I think my words won’t possibly mean anything to you. But I want to say thank you for sharing your story and Steve’s journey with ALS. I found you last summer when I did the ice bucket challenge and I donated my money in Steve’s name. You’re an amazing woman and I’m so sorry for your loss.

August 11, 2015 - 4:50 pm

Cynthia Fox - Thank you Bo for sharing.
I haven’t a lot of words but am thankful Steve is at home in heaven and you will all meet up one day soon.
Your lives are a blessing that will live on for always.
Hugs and prayers as you go forth on this journey