James A. Stevens
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James A. Stevens
November 19, 1922- March13, 2013

In loving memory of husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, James A. Stevens, who passed away from natural causes at 90 after a wonderful life filled with love, adventure, dance, and kindnesses to others.

Born in Alhambra, CA., he attended Alhambra High School, serving as student body president and sports editor of the Moor newspaper. He attended Pasadena City College, and the University of Utah, then served as an officer aboard
merchant ships during World War II, which gave him the opportunity to see the world and live in such diverse places as India, China, Java, Bali, Egypt, Iraq and Europe. He met the love of his life, Monza Higgs, while he was in Officer's School, and they married in 1949. They settled in Pasadena, CA, and had two children (two daughters, Tami and Erin). Upon Jim's passing, he and Monza had been happily married for 63 years. Together, Jim and Monza owned a successful retail store (from 1950-1970) called "The Wonderful Balinese Shop," located at the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove Blvd, where a giant paper moon hung in the window. Indicative of his generous happy spirit, the shop had a brass plaque on the door that read: Children May Touch! The Owners assume responsibility for any items broken by children in the shop. There were summer movies shown outdoors at the shop, under the stars, and an upstairs art gallery presenting works by many important California artists over the years. There were also lectures by prominent scientists and performances by acclaimed musicians, puppeteers, and magicians. After the shop closed, Jim went into the manufacturing of gift items, and the wholesale distribution of gifts around the globe. Since 1983,with his wife and two daughters, he has helped in running The Pasadena Ballroom Dance Assoc., at 73 N. Hill Ave, (located behind the church). Always an antique collector and yard sale aficionado, he was also a talented writer who wrote and published two books, along with countless numbers of poems and creative manuscripts.

Jim is survived by two of his five siblings: Larry (Weep) Stevens, and Mary Lou Retrosi, his wife Monza, his two daughters and their husbands Scott Price and Jim Key, along with three local grandchildren: Jimmy, Alex and Kaitlynn Key, as well as great grandchildren. He passed away at home with his adoring family surrounding him. He was an athletic man, and a man with tremendous moral strength, unfailing integrity, remarkable kindness, and the deepest capacity for love. We will miss him greatly.

In lieu of flowers, Jim Stevens would appreciate all of us holding his lifelong motto in our hearts: Be Kind.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Pasadena Star-News on Mar. 20, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
October 23, 2013
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Stevens. I often accompanied my mother to the Balinese shop in Pasadena. It was always special to go there. There has never been anything quite like that shop ever again. Mr. Stevens was a most gracious and kind man. His being was magical too and it made perfect sense that he was the owner of the Balinese shop. I bet his adventures continue on as he leaves this journey here for the next one. I wrote about my recollections in my blog here:http://followbarbsbliss.blogspot.com/2009/10/balinese-shop.html
Barbara Cabot
October 5, 2013
I was very sorry to hear about your loss. Your father was always very nice and kind to me. I will never forget his warm and friendly smile when he would greet me. May God bless his soul, and may you be blessed with the wonderful memories you will always have. His kindness and love towards others will live through you, and that will never die. We all will miss him very much.
Russell Cinque, Jr.
August 29, 2013
What a wonderful man! I don't remember meeting him but I remember the Balinese Shop. It was special as Mr Stevens must have been.
July 31, 2013
I'm so sorry about your loss. I remember going to The Balinese Shop as a child!!! Could you post a picture if the shop with the paper moon in the window?? I'd love to see it.
Teryl Hollins
March 22, 2013
If I live as long as Jim and am half as game as he was in his 80's, I will be a happy man. To a life well lived. From all of us at Copy Right, condolences to Monza, Erin & Tami.
Dave Horton
March 20, 2013
Jim and I were artists at Showcase House years ago and he was the sweetest and kindest person I encountered there. My sincerest sympathy to all of you for I know he leaves a big gap in today's world.
Anna Crist
March 20, 2013
HELLO,MY NAME IS GILBERT DIAZ. I WAS THE STEVENS MAILMAN ON BELLEFONTAINE IN THE EARLY 70'S/80'S..I WAS SO SORRY TO HEAR THE PASSING OF A VERY FRIENDLY MAN.I RETIRED IN 2005 BUT HAD THE PLEASURE OF ALWAYS RUNNING INTO MR,STEVENS ON THE STREET. GOD BLESS HIM AND HIS FAMILY...
March 20, 2013
I have many fond memories of Mr. Stevens and his shop. There were so many things of wonder to a child growing up. He was always so kind and welcoming. Warm regards to his family.
Kathy Bassett (Smith)
March 20, 2013
I met Mr. Stevens in September 1997 at my first swing dance class in Pasadena. Since that time he has always greeted me, as he does others, with a warm hand and open heart. At the Sat. night PBDA dances, we often conversed a bit and he shared stories of his life adventures. It was readily apparent how much he loved his family and how proud he was of his daugthers. I delighted in reading his poetry and will treasure my autographed copy of his latest work even more now and read it often in fond memory of a loving, kind, generous man who touched the lives of too many to count. HIs presence will be dearly missed.
Deborah MacDonald
March 20, 2013
Jim Stevens was kindness itself; he was kind to everyone, always. He always saw the best in everyone and i was so, so fortunate to have known and worked for him. Jim Stevens so influenced me that, even though he never actually said it, he certainly personified kindness, so, as a teacher my classroom 'rules', were always #1 Be Kind; #2 Be Kind, #3 Be Kind.
Eunice Williams
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