Brave, charismatic, super-smart, bossy, loyal
With long, lion-like hair, a 5’11” frame, and an authentic, charismatic personality, Stevie energized any room he entered. People were drawn to him. His “uniform” of choice was a long black tee and Levi’s, accentuated by various shoes from his extensive collection. At home, he would relax in his basketball shorts and binge-watch television series with his mother, Stephanie, and sister Kalli.
According to his mom, his greatest interest was “video games, video games, and video games.” She recalled, “He had every system known to mankind and beat each new game in a few days.” When not gaming, he could be found with his lifelong friends, Noah, Michael, Dominic and Steven K. Stevie’s grandmother Jeannette said, “He was very loyal and didn’t have superficial relationships. He had ’his guys.’ He loved them, and they loved him in return.”
Stevie grew up with a single mom. When Kalli was born, Stevie adored her and never left her side. He protected her throughout their lives together. Though Kalli was seven years younger, they were best friends. They spent time binging Netflix or hiking with their dog, Chopper.
Stevie loved to travel with grandparents Roy and Pauline when he was younger. He loved new challenges: surfing, scuba diving in Hawaii, horseback riding, snowmobiling, camping in Spokane and canoeing, river rafting, and hiking in Reno.
Stevie was considering a career in law or forensic anthropology but because of his addiction and periodic relapses he had to retake some classes, which slowed his progress. His counselors in treatment facilities recommended he go into peer counseling because of his excellent leadership abilities while in treatment.
Grandma J and Stevie had a special connection. She has fond memories of taking Stevie to the movies as a child. He would always get popcorn, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a Cherry Coke. She also remembers Stevie’s strong ability to debate any side of an issue. “I don’t think he cared what side he was debating. He definitely had the skills needed for a career in law,” Jeannette said.
Most of the time when Stevie was in active addiction, he lived with his mother, but in the 15 days prior to his death, he stayed with Jeannette as they tried to arrange appropriate treatment. “I don’t know how my daughter did it for all those years. It was so hard,” Jeannette said. During his stay, Stevie was rushed to the ER three times before the fatal overdose. Both mom and grandma are grateful Stevie was in a comfortable place where he experienced unconditional love in his last days.
Stephanie has planted a tree in her backyard for Stevie. It is the first thing she sees each morning from her bedroom window. She and Kalli also started the nonprofit A Voice for Steven to bring awareness to the stigma around substance use disorder. Kalli is building the website with memories and pictures of Stevie during happy times. It may include one of Stevie’s favorite quotes, one that is appropriate when speaking about substance use: “People can be more than one thing.”
Steven’s mother, Stephanie Bettencourt, and grandmother, Jeannette Bettencourt, provided the information for this narrative.
October 30, 1996-January 10, 2021
Age 24-Lived with the disease of addiction for five years.