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Celebrating the life of Leonard E. "Steve" Stephenson
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Obituary for Leonard E. "Steve" Stephenson
ξLeonard Earl Stephenson was born July 26, 1926, on his grandfather's farm west of Ute, Iowa, the son of Leonard and Mabel (Aaby) Stephenson. He was named after his father and so as to not get them confused, his friends and family started calling him Steve and` it stuck. Steve went to school at Ute and Mapletonξgraduating from Ute High School in 1943 at the age of 16 and went straight to college. He attended Cornell College at Mt. Vernon, Iowa and soon transferred to Iowa Sate University and was accepted into the V12 Officer Training Class. This program taught qualified, intelligent, young men to become Naval Officers. World War II was during this time and young men were being drafted into the service once they turned 18. Steve decided he was going to choose which branch of service wasξthe bestξfit for him and at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Navy. Once the Navy saw he was attending the V12 Officer Training Program, they offered him the Officer Program. He was accelerated and graduated less than three years later. Steve now had a degree as an Aeronautical Engineer. He later earned his masters degree at Louis University. Steve was commissioned as ESN in the Navy, which translates to the rank of lowest commissioned officer. His first duty of service was as a Junior Staff Officer where he went to Japan. He was then accepted into the CIC School where his job was to keep track of the location of fleet ships with the goalξof keeping them safe.ξ The Navy asked Steve if he wanted to fly but, he could not as he was nearsighted. ξSteve served for 23 years. He was part of the 7th Fleet flying over the Pacific Ocean keeping a watchful eye for the enemies in the area. Other tours took Steve to Hong Kong twice, Singapore, and the Philippine Islands. Eventually he was released from the Navy as Commander. Upon his return home, he was hired by McDonnell Air Craft as an aeronautical engineerξwhere heξcreated full size mockups of aircrafts. Steve's example led to both of his sons serving in the Navy as well as several grandchildren. Steve served on the Board at the Christian Church in Ute where he was as a substitute pastor at times. He was a member of the committee which organized the beginning of the Ferguson Christian Church in Ferguson, Missouri. He was a proud member of the American Legion Aaby Post #442 of Ute which was named for two of his uncles who died in World War I. Steve also served on the Ute City Council and the Monona County Democratic Committee and as a Delegate to the State of Iowa Convention. He later served as an Elder of Faith Bible Church in Mapleton. Steve was an avid ISU and St. Louis Cardinals fan. Steve married Iva Marie Fain (deceased) and later married Juanita Willis Clark. He is survived by Juanita, Tom, Susan, Melinda (Dixon), David (Diana), Janet (Glenn), Vernette and 17 grandchildren.ξ ξξξξξξ ξ He is preceded in death by Iva, daughters Elizabeth and Mary Alice, one brother; four sisters; and his parents Leonard and Mabel.