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  • "He had profound influence on me as professor. God bless."
    - Mark Tooley
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STEVENS Richard G. Stevens December 29, 1925-January 14, 2018 Richard Gordon Stevens (né Edward Gordon Solomon) was the son of Almyra DeVillery Salmon (born 1885) of Chicago, Illinois, and Philip Jacob Solomon (born 1867) of Garnet Hill in Glasgow, Scotland. The Devillerys came to Chicago by way of Quebec. His maternal grandfather was a seaman on the St. Lawrence River. His father's paternal family (the Solomons) were clothiers in Glasgow and London going back generations; his paternal grandmother's family (the Josephs) manufactured stays for corsets. Richard's mother was a coloratura soprano in Chicago. His father, also a clothier, attended a performance of one of her shows, was smitten, and went backstage and in introduced himself. Mightie was 15 years old at the the time and PJ was 33 years old. PJ had left his parents, two brothers and six sisters in Glasgow and took a ship from Southhampton to Montreal and then traveled by train to Chicago. He arrived with $8 in his pocket and said all through the Great Depression, "I don't have the $8 anymore." PJ became a U.S. citizen at the courthouse in Chicago. They had five children-the family name for all of them was Solomon and then was changed to Stevens in the 1940's-Fred and Don, both businessmen; Evelyn, a college professor in Chicago by way of Puerto Rico; and Paula, who went by "Phoebe," a torch singer whose stage name was Paula Drake. Richard was the youngest of the five children born over 21 years. He also had a slightly older brother who was either a twin or close to his own age who died at birth. Richard was born and grew up on the south side of Chicago. When he was 15 years old his family moved to California. He hitchhiked out to California and met them there. He got a job as a lens grinder and also worked briefly playing "straight man' with a comedian in Vaudeville as the warm-up act for his sister Phoebe. At 17, he got written permission from his parents to join the U.S. Navy. He served during WWII as fire controlman on the U.S.S. Intrepid for 2 1/2 years fighting in 10 battles at sea. He continued in the U.S. Navy Reserves for 25 years and retired as a commander. When his ship landed in California after WWII ended he went into a restaurant and tried to impress the waitress, later his bride of 68 years, Norma Jean Stevens (1930-2017) who predeceased him. Her family history and story are written in her notice in this paper. Richard went back to school after the war, eventually earning a PhD in Political Science and Public Policy. He considered himself a protégé of Leo Strauss and Herman Pritchett. He published numerous books including, Sober as a Judge: The Supreme Court and republican liberty (with Matthew J. Franck); Reason and History in Judicial Judgment: Felix Frankfurter and Due Process; The American Constitution and its Provenance; Political Philosophy: An Introduction; and American Political Thought: The Philosophic Dimension of American Statesmanship (with Morton J. Frisch). He taught at several colleges including William and Mary, San Jose State College, The University of Washington, The University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, Georgetown University, George Washington University and American University. He is survived by their three children, Dennis G. Stevens (Bonnie 1951-2017), Laura Louise Balisky (Todd), and Patricia J. Stevens (Richard); grandchildren; great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews. His scholarship is carried on through his many students and colleagues. Even with all his professional accomplishments he is remembered by his family for his love of maps, his passing down his skill for tying ship's knots, his phenomenal ability to whistle all of Brahms' Hungarian Dances, his original compositions of pretend opera arias, his tying a handkerchief into a rabbit, his invention of Myron Molar the Tooth Fairy, his home-made chocolate fudge, and long evenings playing cribbage with his wife. Joining Norma, Richard will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, June 11 at 1 p.m. Everyone attending should meet at the Administration Building at 12:30 p.m. Online condolences and fond memories of Richard may be offered to the family at
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Published in The Washington Post on June 10, 2018
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Vienna, VA   (703) 938-7440
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