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Norman Stevens

1920 - 2015

Norman B. Stevens passed quietly on January 24, 2015. He was born March 6, 1920, on a farm in Collins, Iowa. Born during the flu epidemic of World War I, he was not expected to live more than a few days, but he had a long and fulfilling life. He went to college at the University of Iowa, where he majored in general science with the idea of being a doctor. He soon realized that his true talents lay in physics, eventually earning a Master’s degree in physics. He had an exciting career in applied physics, initially working on Sonar during World War II at the Naval Research Labs in Washington, D.C., where he was inducted into the Navy. During the following years, he worked in many other cutting edge areas of physics including laser development. At the Santa Barbara Research Center (SBRC), he worked for 17 years on projects such as the early Mars probes and the Voyager space exploration program. The holder of seven patents, he retired as Space Programs Manager from SBRC in 1978. Following retirement, he worked for another 30 years repairing clarinets for many musicians in the area, playing with several local groups, and managing a clarinet choir, which met weekly in his home. In addition to his career, his primary loves were his family and music. He married Velma Ruth Roberts in 1941, and enjoyed 50 years of marriage, helping raise their two girls. He was a very involved and loving father. He and Velma met playing clarinet in the band, and had many interesting hobbies including birding (bird watching), camping and hiking. Approximately 10 years after Velma’s death, he fell in love with Dorothy Marking, who was an exceptional pianist and organist, as well as an enthusiast of the outdoors. Norm and Dorothy have lived together for many years in peace and contentment, often playing clarinet and piano together. Norman was a member of the Sigma Xi science honorary, Sigma Pi Sigma physics honorary, and the Audubon Society. Norman is survived by his partner Dorothy Marking; his daughters and spouses Marilyn and Irvin Ailes and Janet and Steve Shields; four grand-children Charsa Raymond, Clinton Ailes, Kenneth Shields, and Jamie Lydersen; and six great-grand-children. Many people have told us he was the kindest man they knew. He was also a wonderful father, husband and partner, and a clever and inventive man. And I have to mention that he absolutely loved puns! A memorial will be held Saturday January 31 at 2:00 pm in the main lounge at the Vista Del Monte retirement center at 3775 Modoc Rd. Donations are especially welcomed to the Music Academy of the West, Audubon Society, Front Porch Communities, or Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care.

Arrangements entrusted to McDermott-Crockett Mortuary.

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