Kindness to everyone, empathy for all, “Be the change you wish others to be.”. (Steven’s motto)
Steven exuded kindness. It was part of his core to make people feel genuinely cherished, loved, and welcomed, especially if they were different in any way. Many friends said that they felt like they didn’t belong at college for one reason or another and Steven would seek them out and help them feel good about themselves. Many other friends said that they could always come to Steven with a personal problem and Steven would just listen and help them feel valued.
Math, cooking, science, and puzzles were all aspects of his life that he excelled in and enjoyed; Steven called himself a “total science geek” and was in his fourth year of attending University of the Sciences in the Biochemistry department. Steven’s parents were awarded his USciences Diploma posthumously. The College board said the vote was unanimous that he deserved this honor.
Steven’s ADHD caused him to struggle at times, but he was a whiz at math, he could fix any puzzle given to him, he was a champ at Rubik’s cube, and not only could he solve them in seconds, but he could also make designs and patterns in them as well. In high school he took all AP courses and practically without opening a book he aced the AP test at the end of the year. In University during his freshman year, he took a senior class and not only did well, but tutored others who needed help. One of his goals was to obtain his doctorate in research and become a Research Pharmacology Scientist. He wanted to find a cure for mental illness and find a medication for ADHD that was a non-stimulant and non-addictive.
His older sisters Jillian and Sarah both adored their younger brother. He was the first boy in the family. His three nieces and two sisters would fight over whose turn it was to hold the “new baby”. He loved all the attention and played along with them when they dressed him up, and later he would do whatever they were interested in because he loved and looked up to them. He was a little brother who was comfortable hanging out with them, conversing, going places, playing computer games with Jillian, and even using an occasional face mask with Sarah. Steven also had a stepsister Abby and stepbrother Daulton who he was close to. Being in Boy Scouts with Daulton enhanced his love for nature and camping. He loved taking walks and being in nature.
Sam and Arya were his best friends growing up. Sam’s mom felt like he was a son to her as he followed her around the kitchen talking about anything and everything. Arya’s father always said that Steven was a part of their family as well. He loved learning about Arya’s culture and tried many new spicy foods when visiting them.
The loss of Steven has impacted his entire family in many ways. Some have grown distant, some feel guilty and somehow responsible, some have become closer and feel that he is watching over them with his undying love. His mother says that she has more compassion for individuals and families who struggle with substance use disorder now. She thinks of him every day and in pondering what she misses most, she says, “I miss Steven’s incredible laugh and beautiful smile; he had the sincerest laugh. When he laughed, everyone was happy. Steven just made you feel happy.”
Steven’s mother Terri Wallace provided the information for this narrative.
March 23, 2000-September 24, 2021-Age 21
Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower
Narrative Writer: Lynn McKnight