Photography

Thomas J Stephens

December 12, 1939 ~ August 20, 2023 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Thomas Stephens Obituary

Dec 12, 1939 - Aug 20, 2023

 Thomas J. Stephens, 83, died Sunday, August 20, from medical complications that prevented a return to the active life he cherished. It was fitting that he was surrounded by family and nestled in the hearts and prayers of countless adopted "cousins" elsewhere as he cast his final fly into life's endless river. He was happiest when he was with his wife Gretchen, their three daughters, Dawn (Patrick), Kristen (Tim), and Heidi (Brett), and his grandchildren Cory Thomas, Kaleigh, MacCallen and Kyndal.

Whether it was weekends and summers at Useless Bay on Whidbey Island, fishing trips, golf tournaments, family camping trips, ski vacations, travel abroad, or attending his grandchildren's many activities, Tom took charge of making sure that everyone had a great time. He was known as "Uncle Tom" by all, as Tom's generosity was not just reserved for his own wife and children. He and Gretchen kept the door open to his brothers and sisters along with countless nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors. "Well, hello!" he would boom out from behind his big smile as he ushered folks into his West Seattle home for holidays. The Stephens Christmas Party was a cherished celebration, where he and Gretchen upheld the German tradition of lighting real candles on a giant tree while gathered in front singing traditional carols, accompanied by a vintage upright piano and the laughter of children.

Tom's welcoming spirit and generosity was no doubt shaped by his Catholic Schools education. He supplemented his formal education by joining the U.S. Merchant Marine at the age of 18, sailing to distant ports such as Singapore and Goa, India. Upon his return, he worked at Price and Stephens, his father's Capitol Hill grocery store, while attending college at Seattle University, graduating with a Business degree.

Soon after he met Gretchen Weist from New York in Walla Walla, Washington, and they wed on February 9th, 1963. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1963 and served with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany during the Cold War. Settling in Seattle, Tom made an indelible mark in the city's banking industry while serving in the Army reserves. He joined People's Bank of Seattle, working his way up through the commercial lending division. After a successful banking career, he joined Connelly Skis as CFO/CEO, and eventually as coowner. He leveraged his business expertise by serving on the board of Work Opportunities as well as The Lynn Foundation.

He maintained his military service in the Army Reserves and retired as a Full Colonel in 1992. In addition to his wife, daughters, and grandchildren, Tom is survived by his brothers Ed and Greg Stephens and sister Clare van Amerongen, and was preceded in death by his sister Jane Pease. A military service to honor him will be held at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA.

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Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home – Lake View - Seattle, WA

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