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Louis D. Stevens Jr.

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Born April 15, 1925 in Post, Texas passed away peacefully October 17, 2009 at the age of 84 in Aptos, CA. He is survived by the love of his life, Betty Stevens, his devoted wife of 63 years.

In 1943, Louis joined the Marine Corps and went to Radar Technician School, where he was introduced to electrical engineering. He went on to earn a BSEE from Texas Tech and an MSEE from the University of California at Berkeley, with support from the G.I. Bill and Betty, who worked in college bookstores to finance his education.

In 2008 Louis was honored with induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for leading the team at IBM that developed the first magnetic disk hard drive. Louis had 8 filed invention patents. He began his 35-year career with IBM in 1949 as an electrical engineer. He first worked in Poughkeepsie, NY before coming to San Jose to help set up IBM's West Coast research laboratory at 99 Notre Dame Avenue in 1952. There over the course of five years, the team invented the first magnetic disk storage device. Louis credited his knack for invention to his mother. She taught him that he could do anything he put his mind to and she instilled in him the belief that he could fix anything that was broken, including the few electrical appliances they had. She even encouraged Louis to take apart his bicycle and his radio, just to see how they worked.

After retiring from IBM in 1984, Louis taught computer science at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey for 10 years.

Louis was humble, kind, and generous to everyone. He loved reading, travel, his family, friends and working on his computer. He also enjoyed gardening and volunteered at the Arboretum at UCSC for many years.

He is survived by one sister; Dixie Billings and three brothers: Tom, Mike, and Jerry Stevens. He was a loving father to Catherine Tom Rosseter, Judy George Hall, and Louis Sheryl Stevens. He is survived also by his grandchildren: Elizabeth and Megan Rosseter, Jesse and Micaela Eastman, Heather and Brent Stevens; his step-grandchildren: Sadie and Molly Hall; and three great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to UCSC Arboretum c/o UCSC, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060, The Family Service Agency of the Central Coast, 104 Walnut Street, Suite 208, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, or Hospice of Santa Cruz County, 940 Disc Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066.

A family service will be held at The Episcopal Church of St John the Baptist, Aptos, CA. A celebration of his life is planned for November 14.


Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Oct. 23, 2009
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