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James "Stevie" Phelps, age 82, of Franklin Lakes, died peacefully at home with his wife, daughter and son on Sunday, October 27, 2013. Steve was born in New York City on November 18, 1930. He lived in Radburn and graduated Fair Lawn High School, lettering in baseball, football and basketball. He attended Manumit Free School in Pawling, NY. The Manumit experience profoundly effected his way of life. Steve graduated from Vanderbilt University. He was a prolific writer; plays, speech writer for Governor Wagner, poetry, children's stories, songs, books, as well as a philosophical letter writer. Steve had an extensive Broadway career. He worked with Al Pacino, George C. Scott, Tony Randall, Woody Allen and Carol Burnett. Notable shows include, Zigfield Follies (directed by his father, Jack Kennedy), Don't Drink the Water, Seascape, Waiting For Lefty and Long Days Journey Into Night. He performed at the St. Louis Municipal Opera, the Cherry Lane Playhouse and The Old Globe Theatre. He and his children had great adventures traveling, mountain climbing, cycling, always testing the limits of human potential. He welcomed anyone who cared to join. He was an inspiring soccer coach, educator, and a pied piper to all children. Surviving, is his loving wife of 15 years, Thelma Kennedy Stevenson, of which those years have been a true gift; his devoted children Alicia and Paul and his adoring grandchildren Liam, Emerson, Thomas, Brett, Jack, Laurel, Kailey, Justin and Elaine; his sisters, Joan Sanford and Susan Gomez. We will celebrate Steve's life by inviting family and friends to visit Monday, October 28, 2013, 7 until 9 PM, followed by a service at 9 PM. This will be at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home (www.vpfh.com), 257 Godwin Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ. In lieu flowers, memorial contributions in Stevie's name may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202, or his daughter Alicia's non-profit, working with at risk youth and rescued dogs (www.projectunleashed.org).
Vander Plaat Funeral Home
257 Godwin Avenue Wyckoff, NJ 07481
Published in The Record/Herald News on Oct. 28, 2013