Mike Stevens passed away peacefully at home on September 21, 2013, surrounded by his family and friends.
He is survived by his wife, Susan; children, Hallie and Trent; mother, Shirley Stevens; sister, Sandy Suratt; and father, Loren Stevens.
Mike was born in Torrance, California, and graduated Workman High School in 1978. He moved to San Diego in 1979 to attend UCSD, where he met his wife, Susan, in a camping class. After graduating, he bought La Jolla One Hour Photo, which later became La Jolla Photo & Imaging. Mike and Susan were both active in local Rotary groups and raised their two children in the La Jolla community.
When Mike was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 43, he decided to reevaluate his life. He sold his business in order to focus on his health, and shifted his priorities to make the most of the time he had left. Family, friends and fun took precedence, and his lifelong commitment to service expanded. He became a national public advocate for lung cancer health policy and co-founded the annual San Diego Breath of Life Cancer Walk. Through multiple surgeries and rounds of chemo, he traveled with his family, hunted and fished with friends, and counseled hundreds of cancer patients. In the process, his initial 2-month prognosis stretched to eight years.
Mike loved the outdoors. It was the ocean that drew him to San Diego. He spent countless hours diving, fishing and boating and was an active member of the San Diego Oceans Foundation, which promotes ocean stewardship through community-supported projects. Mike loved to visit Susan's family in Honolulu. He vacationed there every year with his family on both the North and South Shore. On dry land, Mike loved to hunt. In 2007 he bought 11 pine-filled acres at Palomar Mountain and built his paradise there. He was active and well-loved in the Palomar community. Mike loved the land, the hard work, and the close community of ranchers and outdoorsmen.
Mike's strong family circle was the secret to his long survival. He loved his mother, Shirley, and his kids. Because of his illness, he knew what a miracle it is to watch your children grow up. Hallie is now a college graduate with her dad's fierce commitment to public service. Trent shares Mike's passion for outdoor adventure and co-founded the Expeditionary Club at CU Boulder. Mike loved Susan most of all. She was the girl he fell in love with, the partner he built a life with, and the constant support for his big, bold, brilliant plans. Mike's last project was building Susan an art studio on the Palomar property, completed just a few weeks before his death.
A celebration of Mike's life will be held in Palomar on October 26, 2013, at noon. For details, call 858-232-4757 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, (https://www-er.ucsd.edu/givetoucsd/secure/paymenttran/onlinegiving.asp?sk=80
) specify "Mike Stevens Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research" in comment box; or the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, (https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=95-3006635