March 25, 1935 – April 10, 2023
It is with deep sorrow and much love that we share the passing of our family’s rock, at the age of 88 years, at the Didsbury Long Term Care Center, after a long battle with the rare neurological disease MSA-P (Multiple Symptom Atrophy- Parkinsonism).
Stephen was born in Oldham, England and immigrated to Canada at the age of 11, fully prepared and expecting to live with the cowboys and Indians. He sailed to Canada with his mother, Muriel, on the Queen Mary, accompanied by his little sisters, Susan (age 3) and Katherine (age 2), arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax. They then travelled by train across Canada and his mother later lamented that he was absolutely no help with his sisters, but was excited to begin his adventure! They arrived in Paradise Valley, Alberta, later moving to Edmonton where he completed high school. Upon graduation, he went to work in Uranium mines and the aviation industries in the North before returning to try the oil fields, real estate, logging timber, and even operating a small restaurant.
Upon meeting and marrying his wife, Irene, stability became a priority, so he obtained a job with Atlas Lumber (later Revelstoke Lumber), landing in the small community of Carstairs. He assumed the assistant manager position in the store, joined the local Curling Club and various other organizations. Stephen later transferred to Lethbridge with Revelstoke for a couple of years before transferring back to Carstairs as manager in 1962. By this time, he had found his family’s permanent home and, with the help of his Uncle Harry (McDonald Agencies, Innisfail), Stephen was mentored in the general insurance business and established his own business, Amalgamated Insurance, in Carstairs. He and Irene spent the next years working together and they and their four children were blessed to be in close reach of Irene’s mom, her 14 siblings in Calgary and Stephen’s parents and five siblings. Needless to say, relations were not in short supply!
In 1971, at the age of 36, Stephen decided to pursue further education, with the goal of a law degree. As Calgary was only talking of opening a law faculty and Edmonton’s school was impossible with a family of four children, he persisted with the insurance business while also embarking on a four year Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Calgary. He felt he would become a Chartered Accountant if Calgary didn’t succeed in being granted their law faculty. U of C opened their law school in 1976 and Stephen was admitted as a mature student (VERY). He graduated in the first graduation class in 1979, articled with Yuzda and Bolton Law Company (Calgary and Olds), and was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1980 at the age of 45. He later opened Stiles Law Office in Carstairs, mentoring many young articling students, including the present and very capable owner, Jeff Davidson, of Davidson Stiles Law.
Along the way, Stephen found time to farm, be elected to the Alberta Government as MLA for the Olds Didsbury Conservative party, serving from 1982 to 1986, join the Carstairs Lions Club as an inaugural member, volunteer as a town fire fighter and support various other organizations. His other interests never seemed to suffer as he was also a voracious reader and student of history, an avid curler, golfer, bridge player, hockey coach and much more as his inquisitive mind and incredible energy lead him on many pursuits.
Stephen was an absolute gentleman, very true to his values and especially devoted to his much loved family. He is survived and will be deeply missed by his wife, Irene, of 64 years, his loving children, Tony (Quincy Munday), Karen (Todd Scott), Leslie (Ken Cyr) and Robert (Susan Strong), as well as his 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Stephen leaves his adored and much appreciated sisters Katherine and Susan, his brother Robert (Carole), Irene’s siblings and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is predeceased by his parents, Muriel and Robert Stiles, sisters and brothers-in-law, Mary-Lou and Don Osmack, Anne and Garry Hunt, Bob Edwards, Robert Carver, as well as his mother-in-law, Grace McKay, sister-in-law Edna Sonier and brothers-in-law Darcy Schulz and Trevor Schulz.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 29th, at 2:30 pm, at the Carstairs Community Hall (1100 Lackner Way) (note the change in venue), with a light lunch to be served after. In lieu of flowers, donations would be gratefully accepted by the Lions Eye Bank at the Rockyview General Hospital (403-943-3406).