Cover photo for Stephen Hartley's Obituary
1968 Stephen W. 2023

Stephen Hartley

June 11, 1968 — December 5, 2023

Stephen W. Hartley went home to be with his Lord on December 5, 2023, after living 17 years with cancer. Preceded in death by his mother, Lillian Hartley. Survived by his father, Stephen M. Hartley, brother Timothy Hartley, sisters Kimberly Hartley and Victoria (Peter) Stark, and beloved niece and nephews Cody Hartley, Morgan Gaskill, Carter Gaskill, and Rider Bjorklund.

Stephen was raised in Roseville and graduated in the final class of Alexander Ramsey High School, where his primary extracurricular activity was music, demonstrating a superlative talent on trombone in statewide solo competitions, as well as jazz band and theater orchestra. Among his greatest joys was playing trombone, bass trombone, and tuba in orchestras at Grace Church Roseville, Grace Church Edina (now of Eden Prairie) and the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra throughout his life, as well as smaller brass ensembles that performed special music, sacred and secular, in various venues including care units and retirement homes. Around 2019, tumors in his lungs and pneumonia made it impossible for him to continue, but he had pressed on as long as possible with the assistance of his father, who drove him to rehearsals and performances when the effort of performance would leave him exhausted.

He had the unusual distinction of being taller than every one of his school teachers, excluding kindergarten, eventually growing to 6’ 11” before starting high school, where he excelled in basketball. Although not college recruited, Stephen was urged by former University of Minnesota Gopher center Jim Peterson to join the Gopher practice team to provide their center with a proper foil, but he declined in favor of concentrating on his academic goals. He continued to play competitive basketball throughout his 20s, participating in a recreational league for the exercise and camaraderie.

He earned two bachelor of science degrees at the University of Minnesota, in Agricultural and Civil Engineering. Inheriting an aptitude for understanding water flow and percolation from his grandfather, a well driller, Stephen joined TKDA in St. Paul as a water resource manager, ensuring parking lots and roads across Minnesota handled flood level water volumes and preserving and protecting wetlands by filtering and storing runoff. At TKDA, he contributed to the growth of CAD in the use of design and analysis, providing standard symbology and training to fellow engineers. He finished his engineering career at EOR, in a dual role bringing engineering experience and computer and network management expertise to the small company, where he worked until his cancer progression made it impossible. He contributed to his profession as president and board member of the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers, where he particularly looked forward to the yearly MATHCOUNTS event that drew middle-school students from across the state to burnish their math abilities through competition, and as board member of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

Among his fondest remembered activities was his years as the Scoutmaster of Boy Scouts of America Troop 150, sponsored by Calvary Baptist Church. An Eagle Scout, he participated first as Assistant Scoutmaster before stepping up to fill the Scoutmaster role for nearly ten years. He was proud to watch his boys grow into men, and enjoyed meeting many of them and their families at a 10 year reunion picnic in the early 2000s.

Stephen particularly loved his niece and nephews. Sitting in his lap to read was like settling into an overstuffed chair. His gentle spirit and patient nature made him the go-to for homework help. He attended school music and sports performances as long as his health allowed.

When he was five years old, he helped his father assemble a swing set and a picnic table, sparking a lifelong love of tinkering that spanned tree forts in his youth to HAM radios in adulthood. He was named “Mr. Fixit” by his oldest nephew, Cody, for his aptitude and willingness to help with household improvements and appliance repair, and his large frame and lifting ability made him popular with family and friends when anything needed moving. Despite increasing health struggles of his own, he took charge when his mother’s stroke robbed her of independence, scheduling and taking her to health care and rehab appointments and serving as a companion and listener despite her aphasia.

He was a valued family member and friend to the end and his absence will forever be felt.

 

A celebration of his life will be held at 11 AM at Mueller Memorial Funeral Home, 835 Johnson Parkway, St. Paul on Saturday, February 3, 2024 with visitation beginning at 10 AM.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Masonic Cancer Center Fund, U of M. Note cancer in the memo. Checks can be mailed to 11501 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington, MN 55437. Online donations can be made at Masonic Cancer Center Fund, University of Minnesota.

Service Schedule

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Visitation

Saturday, February 3, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Mueller Memorial - St. Paul

835 Johnson Pkwy, Saint Paul, MN 55106

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, February 3, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Mueller Memorial - St. Paul

835 Johnson Pkwy, Saint Paul, MN 55106

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