SWEET – Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School students Karmen Kane, right, and Sophia Stark make chocolate-dipped strawberries Wednesday night during the Keet Family Night. Hundreds attended the event, which included a chili dinner, activities and heart-shaped cookies. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Celebration of Life Oct. 5 For Stephen Dell Warren

Stephen Dell Warren

Stephen Dell Warren

  Stephen Dell Warren, a Sitkan since January 2001, died June 28, 2019, in Eugene, Oregon, where he had gone to seek medical help. He was 68.
Steve was born May 5, 1951, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Zephyr and Adelbert Warren. Brother Roger was born a year and a half later and the family soon moved to Oregon where their dad began working for the Oregon State Fish Hatchery program. It was a time when children were expected to help out at the hatcheries, so Steve and his brothers Roger and Keith (born 1958) learned the hatcheryman trade at a young age. The family lived at several different fish hatcheries over the years.
  Steve’s family was active in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, their father being a lay minister. Once Steve’s singing ability and willingness to perform were discovered, he began singing for services, making his debut at the age of 5 singing at a revival meeting. Steve and brother Roger were soon singing harmonies and later played trumpet duets at services each Saturday, Steve writing out the harmony part for each hymn. The brothers attended Adventist schools, Steve graduating from Columbia Academy in Battleground, Washington, in 1969. While at the Academy, Steve participated in a traveling music group called “Contando,” and began playing the guitar. It was expected that he would become a musical evangelist. He also developed an interest in folk and Bluegrass music. He was guitarist for the Portland Boys Choir while his brother Keith was a member, from 1967 to 1970.
  Steve attended Mount Hood College and became involved there with Ralph Nader and his Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG). Also about this time, he fought for and obtained Conscientious Objector status.
Having learned cooking and baking while at Academy, Steve worked at Multnomah Falls and as chef at Bauman’s Resort. He stopped cooking professionally when it began to affect his health, but enjoyed doing it for his family and friends.
  In 1975, Steve met Christine Mullen at a Halloween dance on the Oregon Coast. They soon became inseparable. They spent a year living on a mining claim at Forks of the Salmon, California, which had been in Steve’s family since the 1930’s, working at a firefighting camp as cooks during that time. Because they were both interested in remote living and Steve had had an interest in Alaska since he was a child, they hitchhiked to Alaska in 1977. On this trip they scouted out employment opportunities and returned in 1978 to work for the start-up of Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA) as a camp couple, establishing remote camps and setting up weirs for egg-taking at Portage-Sulzer on Prince of Wales Island and in Walker Cove in the Misty Fjords east of Ketchikan. The next season they returned to work for Reid Timber as cook and bull cook/housekeeper at a salvage logging sale camp on Shrubby Island at the north end of Clarence Strait.
  In 1979, having saved their earnings from two seasons in Alaska, they returned south to look for a sailboat. In Sydney, B.C., they found the Alte Liebe, a 26-foot Dutch-built steel sloop, and moved aboard, spending the next three years exploring the Port Townsend area, the San Juan Islands, and the Hood Canal. In 1980, Steve and Chris were married in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, and also had their first child, daughter Ginger.
  They sailed back to Alaska in 1982 and explored for a couple of years. Daughter Mariah was born in late 1983 in Wrangell, and soon after the family traveled by ferry to Juneau to attend an “over the counter sale” of DNR land parcels. They won some land in Edna Bay and moved there, building a cabin with a chainsaw mill and wood from their property. Daughter Misty was born in 1986 and son Aaron was born in 1988.
Each time the family traveled on their sailboat to Wrangell to deliver at the Wrangell hospital with Dr. Harriet Schirmer. They then would travel south to show the new addition to their families in Oregon, then return to Alaska. All four children were home-schooled. In 2001 the decision was made to move to Sitka, where daughter Mariah was attending Mt. Edgecumbe High School and daughter Ginger was taking classes at UAS.
  Steve worked at various jobs until he was hired by Sitka Conservation Society to work on the Roadless Rule campaign. He later worked for years on the Smoke-free Workplaces campaign. His favorite job was working as a smoking cessation counselor at Sitka Community Hospital. In later years he worked on many boats, installing electronics, doing plumbing, and fixing mechanical problems.
  Besides his family, Steve’s true love in life was making music. He became an adept rhythm guitarist and also enjoyed playing mandolin, pennywhistle, keyboard, accordion and concertina over the years. He was a skilled vocalist who knew hundreds of songs and liked sharing them at the Pioneer Home. He played with different people around town and at the Farmers Market and other events. He especially enjoyed playing with the Irish band Ceoltoiri.
  Steve also enjoyed his time on the water, hunting and fishing. He shared his catch with friends and family.
  Another favorite activity for Steve was cooking and baking for community events and fundraisers, and he was known for his Salmon Chowder and freshly baked rolls.
Steve is survived by his wife, Chris, son Aaron and daughters Ginger and Misty, all of Sitka, and daughter Mariah, of Ketchikan; two grandchildren, Lillie and Warren White, of Sitka; brothers Roger (Andie) Warren and Keith (Maria) Warren of Astoria, Washington; sisters-in-law Pamela Panum and Deb Mullen, both of Eugene, Oregon; and brother-in-law Paul Mullen, Vancouver, Washington.
 A celebration of life for Steve will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Sealing Cove Business Center on Alice Island. Attendees are asked to park in the lot behind the building and enter the door to the former school gymnasium.
Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments, and potluck dishes are welcome from those who have one to share. “Come meet Steve’s family, including his brothers Roger and Keith, who will play some music for us, and their wives Andie and Maria,” the family said.
Also attending will be Steve’s sisters-in-law, Pamela Panum and Deb Mullen, both of Eugene, Oregon who helped care for him in Oregon, and his brother-in-law Paul Mullen, Vancouver, Washington.

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