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Obituary: Stephen Ives Albee

As received from the O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home:

Stephen Ives Albee passed away on October 31, 2020 at Omega House after a brief courageous battle with cancer.  He was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin July 6th, 1938–the only child of Russell and Jane (nee Ives) Albee.  After graduating from Oshkosh High School in 1956, he enlisted in the US Army and served a 4-year tour with the 10th Special Forces Group Airborne in Europe.  On January 26, 1963 he married Judith E. Eckstein in Winchester, Wisconsin. He graduated from UW-Oshkosh with a BA degree in 1964 and pursued a Graduate Degree in Urban planning at UW-Milwaukee.  

Steve worked in Green Bay and Milwaukee as an urban planner before taking a job with the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region in 1971.  He worked with local businesses and governments for nearly 25 years to encourage and support economic development in the area.  He played a large role in the creation, development and funding of the Keweenaw National Historical Park in 1992.  His community focus continued after retirement as he played an active role in numerous community organizations such as the Keweenaw Land Trust, Trout Unlimited and the Copper Country Community Arts Center.  

Steve was a lifelong learner; whose pursuit of knowledge included a BS in Forestry from Michigan Tech and frequent participation in Elderhostel/Road Scholar programs.   In addition to his career, he was a man of many interests: he was a Boy Scout leader, a cross country skier, an avid reader, and a supporter of the Pine Mountain Music Festival.  He enjoyed traveling with his wife in retirement and spending time with his grandchildren.  However, he is probably best known as the Gardener of West Hancock.  He brought a love of gardening with him to the Copper Country.  In spite of the challenges of poor soil, short summers and cold nights, he persevered.  His friends, neighbors, and family were the beneficiaries of the fruits (and vegetables) of his labor.  Countless people were able to enjoy the bounties of fresh lettuce, spinach, asparagus, and other delicacies.  

Steve is survived by his wife and their three sons: Tom (Tanya) of Brookfield, WI; James of Fairgrove, MI; Mark (Jen) of Duluth, MN; and three grandchildren: Alyssa, Russell, and Lucy. The O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home is working with the family on arrangements.  The family would like to thank the staff of Portage Health System and Omega House for their compassionate care.  In recognition of his contributions to the community and the Keweenaw National Historical Park, the Quincy Mine Hoist Shaft will be illuminated evenings the week of November 2nd – 6th. 

A celebration of his life is planned for Sunday, May 30, 2021 at the pavilion of Chassell Township Centennial Park from 2 until 4 P.M. with Pastor Peter Norland officiating at 2:15 followed by military honors from the Copper Country Veterans Association.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Steve’s name to Keweenaw Land Trust, Portage Lake United Church, Copper Country Community Art Center, Omega House or the charity of your choice.   

To leave online condolences, please go to www.oneilldennisfh.com. 

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