David R. Stephenson,80, of Libby
David R. Stephenson,80, passed away on April 16, in the home he’d lived in for 42 years, surrounded by love, and somewhat surprised that he still had never won the Powerball. He died the same way he had lived his whole life – ferociously believing in miracles, even when grumbling about the realities of the world.
Dave was born July 11, 1942, in Libby, Mont. to Johanna (June) Ludvikson Stephenson and James Stephenson. He spent his childhood years splashing in the frigid waters of Pipe Creek and playing baseball and basketball. Although a basketball scholarship to college in Havre and graduate school at the University of Montana took him away for a number of years, he returned to Lincoln County for good in 1974; first as principal at Troy High School, and then eventually as the principal at Libby Middle School.
He met his wife, Carole Anne, while attending Northern, and they were married in Simms, Mont. in 1966. He and Carole Anne built a loving and beautiful community of lifelong friends in Troy and Libby, and grew their children, and oh-so-many veggies and flowers in the gardens of their Libby home. His long afterschool career as a basketball referee allowed him to catch up often with friends in other Montana towns and kept him in shape to run in 20 consecutive Bloomsday races. After retiring, Dave worked in his woodshop, traveled, and puttered around the garden, usually enjoying a glass of zinfandel on the tree swing after a day of digging holes.
Dave loved the outdoors, was a dedicated hunter and fisherman, and was a lifelong Democrat – back when it was more common to be all of those things at once. He was proud to chair the Lincoln County Democrats in 2018 when Senator Tester won reelection by a close margin. Dave was also a board member of the CARD Clinic and former chairman of the CARD Foundation in Libby. An active Mason in the Libby Masonic Lodge #85, he was devoted to raising money for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Spokane.
A softy at heart, he always swore he’d never let a cat into the house, but his was always the lap each family cat slept on. And while he was irrepressibly proud of both his Norwegian heritage and his graceful hook shot, he was ultimately proudest of his wife, kids and grandkids, who all miss him terribly.
He was preceded in death by his parents and beloved twin brothers, Chuck and Jim Racicot.
He is survived by his wife Carole Anne; his son Brent (Krista) Stephenson of Boise, Idaho; his daughter Heather Stephenson (Donnie Fowler) of San Francisco, Calif.; his sister Linda (Gene) Braley of Libby; his grandchildren, Quinn and Crosby Stephenson, and Cleo and Iris Fowler; and numerous loved in-laws, nieces, and nephews.
Services will be held at The Libby United Methodist Church on April 28 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the CARD Clinic in Libby, or the Shriner’s Children’s hospital in Spokane.
Shriners Children’s Hospital Spokane 911 West 5th Avenue Spokane, Wash. 99204 CARD 214 E. 3rd Street Libby, Mont. 59923
Arrangements are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Libby. Online condolences and memories may be shared by visiting www.schnackenbergfh.com.
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