R. C. Nick Stevens, died Monday, July 28, at home in Mount Vernon, surrounded by his family. Robert Claar Stevens, was born August 23, 1926 in Niabrara, Nebraska, to Jonathan & Gladys Stevens.
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Nick served in the Navy in World War II. The day after he turned 17, Nick dropped out of school and enlisted. He learned right away that high school drop outs got the dirtiest jobs, and vowed to get his education after the war. During his service to our country, Nick was assigned to an LST ship which was part of the fleet in Hawaii. LSTs were the landing craft ships that pushed ashore and dropped off tanks, trucks, and Marines, exiting out through the waves to establish a beachhead. Nick was in many 1st wave invasions including Saipan, Okinawa, Kwajalein, Tinian, and Eniwetok.
After the war, Nick attended El Camino College in Southern California. In 1957, he married the love of his life, Jeanette Erlandson, and began his career with the Federal Land Bank in Bellingham and then Mount Vernon. Nick loved his job and felt that his greatest accomplishment was training new loan officers, who referred to him as "Chief". These Land Bank families became life-long friends and part of the extended Stevens' family clan.
Nick was a member of Kiwanis and served in many positions. He was awarded the George F. Hixson and Kiwanian of the Year awards. He never missed an opportunity to volunteer, including the Kiwanis Lending Center and Salmon BBQ. Nick and Jeanette also enjoyed volunteering as ushers for McIntyre Hall, but most important were their family and friends. Jeanette convinced Nick to take Bridge lessons at Skagit Valley College, and they belonged to a couples Bridge group for more than 40 years. He loved pinochle, camping, fishing, and traveling with family and friends.
Nick is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jeanette, children Debbie Rice, Anchorage, Shawn (Cathy), Mount Vernon, Bob (Tina Marie), Las Vegas and Alaska, and Lynette Veelman (Will), Anchorage, Grandchildren, Molly, Joshua, Anna, & Clara, Great Grandchildren, Jori, Tommy, & Violet, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother and sister.
One of the highlights of Nick's life was to go on the "Honor Flight" with his grandson Joshua as his Guardian. They flew to Washington DC to visit the WWII memorials dedicated to honor Veterans' sacrifices in service to our country.
Nick said that the best words of wisdom that he could pass on would be to "Get a good education" and "Be kind to your wife!"
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of the N.W., 227 Freeway Drive Ste A, Mt. Vernon, WA 98273, or Bethany Covenant Church, 1318 S. 18th, Mt. Vernon, WA 98274.
A Celebration of Life, followed by an "Ice Cream Social" will be held at Bethany Covenant Church on Friday, August 1, at 2 pm, to celebrate the life of R. C. Nick Stevens.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on July 30, 2014