Gary passed away peacefully in his home on Monday, January 20, 2020 surrounded by family after a five year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a loving brother, father, grandfather, and friend. Gary was born in Hermiston, Oregon on February 6, 1949 to Beverly and Wayne Stephens. He went to grade school, junior high school and high school in Pendleton, Oregon (Let’er Buck!). He played baseball and football and was involved in DeMolay and boys Glee Club.
Gary studied Construction Engineering Management and Business Administration at Oregon State University (Go Beavs!). He received his BS in 1972. He was a member of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity and still holds many friendships today. After graduation, Gary continued to support Oregon State in many ways. He was a devoted Beaver fan who loved traveling near and far for football and baseball games.
Gary started his 47-year professional career 1972. He had an accomplished career which included working for Gibbons and Reed, Riedel International, Copenhagen Utilities, Traylor Brothers and MEI Group. Gary’s impact can be felt throughout the West coast, whether it be his work on the Aleutian Island Chain in Alaska, Roberts Bank Port in British Columbia, the Exxon Valdez Repair Project, the Fremont Bridge in Portland to the signature span of the East Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Gary was one of the original founders of the Northwest Utility Contractors Association (NWUCA) and served as President for two years. Gary participated on NWUCA’s ODOT/WSDOT, Public Agencies Self-Performing Work, City of Portland BES, City of Gresham, City of Portland Transportation, and City of Portland Water Committees. Gary was always counted on to offer input on project plans and represent NWUCA on local issues. No one had more knowledge of the industry and compassion for those involved.
Gary retired from MEI in August 2019 after 10 devoted years. During his retirement, he went to Hawaii twice, Montana, and spent countless hours with his kids and grandkids.
There was no one who could light up a room quite like Gary. His infectious smile and belly laugh couldn’t go unnoticed. Gary was quite well known for his generosity, selflessness, affection for family and friends, and love of sports and the outdoors. He spent countless hours over the years supporting organizations that were dear to him. As his children were growing, he was active in coaching and mentoring. He was a prolific hunter and fisherman – something he cherished doing with friends and family. He enjoyed going to the Pendleton Round-Up every year, which his family will continue to do in his memory.
Gary is survived by his sister, Wendy Smith and sons, Nicholas Stephens (wife: Lindsey Stephens) and Andrew Stephens (wife: Jessica Stephens), and his four grandchildren Nolan and Claire (of Nicholas and Lindsey) and Addison and Matthew (of Andrew and Jessica). He was so proud of his children and loved his grandchildren more than anyone can describe.
In lieu of sending flowers, donations may be made in Gary’s memory to:
Oregon State School of Engineering: https://engineering.oregonstate.edu/how-give
Cancer Research Institute: https://www.cancerresearch.org/join-the-cause/donate/one-time-donation
The family of Gary wishes to extend our sincere thanks to the Oregon Clinic, Saint Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center, Dr. Anupama Acheson, Dr. Rui Li, Providence Hospice Care and Services, and all the caregivers, nurses and staff that helped to care for Gary over the years.
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