Steve 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.
Steve 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.
In 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.
Steve 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.
The 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.