TO: The Gonzaga Community
FROM: Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President
SUBJ: Thoughts and Prayers for the passing of Michael Stepovich (BA ’41)
DATE: February 18, 2014
It is with sadness -- but also gratitude for a life of profound generosity -- that I inform you of the passing of alumnus Michael Stepovich (BA ’41). Mr. Stepovich passed away in San Diego this past Friday, February 14, surrounded by all of his children; he was 94 years old.
Active in politics following his graduation from Gonzaga and the Notre Dame School of Law (1943), Mr. Stepovich served in the Navy for three years during World War Two. A formidable litigator, he served several terms in the territorial legislature and was the last territorial Governor of Alaska up to and during its transition to statehood. He was most proud of his family, and together with his wife Matilda raised thirteen children, eight of whom attended Gonzaga University: Michael Stepovich (BA ’73, JD ‘78), Peter Stepovich (BA ’74), James Stepovich (BA ’83), current Regent Laura Tramonte (BA ’84), Nada Stockton (BA ’84), Andrea Stepovich (BA ’85), Christopher Stepovich Sr., Melissa Stepovich, Antonia Gore, Theodore Stepovich, Maria Greulich, Dominic Stepovich, and Nicholas Stepovich. Thirty-seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren survive him, and eight grandchildren attended or are presently attending Gonzaga: Matija (’02) and Lauren Stepovich (’03), Anna Greulich (’03), Marko Stepovich (’11), and Christopher Stepovich (’13). Grandsons Lawrence Stepovich, Michael Tramonte and David Stockton are currently in attendance. In addition, seven of Mr. Stepovich’s nieces, nephews, and a grandniece have attended Gonzaga University as well.
Mr. Stepovich was recognized by Gonzaga University for his faith, his service and many contributions to the State of Alaska, and his example as a Gonzaga parent and alumnus, with the awarding of the University’s highest honor, the DeSmet Medal, in 1966. From 1975-78 he served as a member of the Gonzaga Board of Regents. His beloved wife of 55 years passed away in 2003.
Mr. Stepovich most recently returned to Spokane and was honored, together with his extended family, at the 2012 “Zagapalooza” All-Class Alumni Reunion.
The Gonzaga University community extends its condolences to the entire Stepovich family during this time of loss and remembrance.
There will be a Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, February 28 at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 1316 Peger Road, Fairbanks, Alaska. The Rosary and viewing will be Thursday, February 27, at 6:00 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 115 North Cushman Street, Fairbanks, Alaska.
Please include Governor Stepovich and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this time of sorrow.