Stephen James McCracken
1955 - 2021
Stephen James McCracken, loving brother to three siblings, father of three children, and grandfather to five, was killed by a texting driver while in the crosswalk near his home in Palm Harbor, Florida on February 14, 2021. He was just two days shy of his 66th birthday. Stephen was born February 16, 1955 in Chicago, Illinois, to Robert and Joan (McGurk) McCracken. He graduated Evanston Township High School in 1972 where he excelled on the swimming team. At Kansas University he received a degree in marketing that led to his success in the beverage industry. Greatly admired by all who worked with him, he led many campaigns that included: 7up, Pepsi, Jackson Family Tour, James Bond Bacardi, Jim Beam Motorcycle Tours, as well as the launch of Knob Creek Bourbon. Coworkers praised his creative acumen, imagination, and work ethic amidst his affable and generous spirit.

Painting, skiing, home remodeling, gardening, and travel were at the forefront of his passions. However, his continuing love for swimming never abated as was evidenced at Chicago's air show eight years ago when he jumped into Lake Michigan and displayed his impeccable butterfly stroke before hundreds of cheering fans. Above all, he will be remembered for his sense of humor, infectious smile, loyalty, and unwavering friendships that were ever present amidst life's many trials and tribulations.

Steve was preceded in death by both his parents. He is survived by his three children whom he regarded as his greatest achievement, Ryan, Daniel and Erin; five grandchildren; brother Jeffrey, sisters Ann and Lynn; beloved cousins Joan, Susan and Patricia; and many nieces and nephews.

An informal memorial celebration with music and stories will be held on Saturday, August 14, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 939 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, from 4-5pm. Everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and memories of Steve no matter how ribald or outrageous. Following the memorial, for those wishing to continue to tell tall tales and celebrate his life, there will be a gathering nearby at Lee Street Beach for Bill's hot dogs, beer and refreshments. Steve disliked formality and stuffiness, so dress comfortably - shorts and sandals totally acceptable. Attendees are asked to email Jeff ahead to establish a rough head count at: [email protected] If you cannot attend the memorial, what would have made Steve happiest is for you to have a drink with a friend and hobnob about his antics or play a harmless prank on some unsuspecting fellow.

Published by PL-North on May 13, 2021.
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Memorial Gathering
4:00p.m. - 5:00p.m.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church
939 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, IL
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5 Entries
Great man , gone to soon ! I will miss him , his impish smile and teasing humor.
Lyn Deans
August 14, 2021
So sorry Steve left way to soon! He'll always be with you and is watching from Heaven.
Lynn Hoffenberg Callahan
June 18, 2021
My deepest condolences to your family on your loss. Steve was one of my favorite classmates in school. He had a great sense of humor and was always cracking jokes. May he Rest In Peace.
Leslie Mann
May 18, 2021
Deepest sympathies to the family.
Brian Richard
May 17, 2021
My condolences to the family, Stephen was an accomplished man. He will be greatly missed
May 13, 2021
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