H. Arthur “Art” Stevens was born near Fargo, N.D., in rural Dash Township on Nov. 18, 1925. He died in The Dalles, Ore., in the Oregon Veterans Home on March 28, 2019. Throughout his long life, Art was known as a man of integrity. He was proud of being a talkative Irishman, full of convictions, stories, and opinions, which he shared freely.
Art was the youngest of eight children born to George Franklin Stevens and Minnie Estelle Bradley. His hardscrabble North Dakota childhood imprinted lifelong habits of frugality and tenacity. As a youth, Art travelled west on the Empire Builder to resettle in Elk, Wash. The verdant land and abundant produce of Spokane County, and its contrast to his formative Dust Bowl experiences, nurtured Art’s commitment to agriculture, land conservation, real estate investments, and innovative land management practices.
In 1943, Art enlisted in the V-5 USNR Air Corps and was transferred by the Navy to V-12a USNR shortly before turning 18. Due to a medical emergency, Art was unable to report for active duty until spring 1944, at which time he began pre-flight school training at Minot State. Later that year, he transferred into NROTC and went to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Art sometimes remarked that his life was marked by being in “the right place at the right time.” This maxim was particularly true in Evanston, where he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity, met and married M. Susan “Sue” Cattin, and was graduated with a B.S. in business administration. Art received early training with the Rollins Burdick Hunter Co. in Chicago and went on to have a long and successful career in the insurance industry.
Art and Sue moved to Oregon in 1950, first to Portland and later to a farm near Lake Oswego, where they raised five children (Joan, Carol, Michael, Richard and Susan). Art worked for D.K. MacDonald & Co. until it was sold to Marsh & McLennen, from which he retired in 1985 to pursue longstanding interests in ranching and travel. By 1990, Art and Sue moved to the Columbia River Gorge and enjoyed the activities and communities they discovered. Their golden years were shadowed by Sue’s illness, but Art cared for her with devotion, first at home and later, until her 2018 death at Providence Brookside in Hood River.
Art was predeceased by his parents and siblings, wife, and a granddaughter. Survivors include his five children and their spouses, six grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, and six great-grandchildren. His family is grateful to Providence Hospice of the Gorge for easing Art’s final days. He died knowing the pasture was greening up and purple and white crocuses were in bloom. Arrangements by Gardners Funeral Home. Disposition by cremation and private ceremony.