Transitioned peacefully on May 15, 2020, at the age of 91.
Born on June 7, 1928, in Watertown, NY, beloved son of Austin and Olive (Springsteen) Stevens, both from Henderson, NY.
After graduating from Watertown High School in 1946, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, rank of corporal (1946-1948). Trained as a machine gun crewman, he served aboard the cruiser, USS Portsmouth, in the Mediterranean area and in the guard detachment at the Bayonne Navy Yard, NJ. He graduated from Clarkson College in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. A member of the Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma honorary engineering fraternities, he was also president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
He was married for 49 years to the love of his life, Catherine (Kay) Elizabeth Richards (deceased). They met as teenagers in the choir of the United Methodist Church, Watertown, NY. where they married on June 11, 1950.
The couple moved to Rochester, NY, when John was hired by the Eastman Kodak Company as an industrial engineer in 1952. He specialized in computer research and development and was an educational consultant working for Kodak Research Labs at Brockport College and the Rochester Public Schools. He joined the Eastman Kodak Human Factors Laboratory in 1970 as an ergonomist, specializing in laboratory computing, product design, and workplace design. He also did graduate work at the University of Rochester and was an instructor in the School of Management, Rochester Institute of Technology.
John and Kay bought their cottage in Sackets Harbor, NY, in 1967, which kept them close to family in the North Country in addition to providing years of family enjoyment ‘up home.’
After early retirement in 1984, he founded his own publishing business, John Alden Books, and published three books.
A talented writer, he combined his interest and knowledge of local marine history and maritime life on Lake Ontario, publishing several articles in Inland Seas Journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society during his retirement. In addition to other memberships, he was an active member of the Henderson Historical Society, Henderson, NY., and supported the completion of the Peters-Stevens Boat Annex, contributing vintage Stevens-built boats to the collection.
He hiked historical paths with best friend, Wally Nielsen (deceased); scuba dived on ship wrecks in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway, and explored caves along Black River in Dexter, NY. He spent happy times on his vintage boat, ‘Wave Dancer,’ and he also enjoyed sailing.
His parents instilled in him a reverent appreciation of nature: he loved the woods, the lakeshore and the islands, and every sunset he could catch. He was an exceptional photographer, capturing family events, trips, and the seasons. John loved music: the old hymns, soft jazz, and the ballads and love songs from his era. During his life time, he sang in three choirs and two musical groups. He loved family genealogy; thanks to him, we have detailed records of our family tree.
Survived by his family: Son, Mark Alden and his wife, Barbara Warren; daughter, Jill E. Stevens and her husband, Daniel Murdoch; beloved brother and his wife, Weston A. and Barbara Stevens; cherished brother and sister-in-law, Darwin and Rosemary Richards; cousin Karen (John) Allen; extended family, Michele (“Sandra”) and Michael Bielski; Kathleen (Gus) Grossmann; surrogate grandchildren: Adam (Liz), Eric (Mallory), Aryn (Chris), Maegen, and Catherine; dear nieces and nephew, Julie (Mark), Heather (Clint), and David (Rachel) Stevens.
Also, many treasured former colleagues and friends, including Bob La Hair and Elaine Scott.
He was a humble, generous, family man; full of Grace and quiet wisdom. He was grateful for every day and was deeply moved by any kindness shown to him. He will continue to inspire us.
On behalf of John and his family, we thank the staff at Grande Ville Senior Center who lovingly cared for him during his final years. Heartfelt thanks to nurses, (‘daughter’) Mary Ellen, and dear Chastity; bless you, Rick, Meghan, Nancy, Lizz, Laci, Michele, Danielle, April, La Teisha, La Treasure, Robin, and Amber. Special thanks to Dr. Diane Kane. You are all angel warriors.
In honor of John, contributions may be made to the Henderson Historical Society or to the Peters-Stevens Boat Annex: PO Box 322, Henderson, NY 13650.
A celebration of his life will be held in late summer at the Peters-Stevens Boat Annex.
Welcome to the world, surrogate great-grandson, Donovan John, born on the eve of John’s passing. As John would have said, “Here, here!”