Norman L. Stevens, Jr., born January 29, 1924, died on Sunday, July 31, 2016, at his home in Hondo, NM, surrounded by his family. Norm was born in Brooklyn, NY and was raised in western Connecticut. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at the age of 19 to serve his Country. A member of the "Greatest Generation", he served with distinction as a captain in the Army Air Corps in WWII. By the time he was 20 he was a pilot flying Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses from his home base in Glattton, England. He was with the 457th Bomb Group in the 8th Air Corps and flew 18 combat missions over northern Europe. Shot down three times in combat, he was never taken prisoner. He was awarded the Air Corps Air Medal for achievement in flight accomplished with distinction above and beyond that normally expected. He served in the "Bloody 8th" until the end of the war. He remained in the Air Force reserves for over 40 years and ran the United States Air Force Reserve in New Mexico. He was fondly known as "The Colonel" by his many friends.
After the war, Norm graduated from Syracuse University where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Epsilon fraternity. Along the years, he met many Sig Eps who were friends for life. He moved to Roswell, NM with his wife Marianne and young family in 1954 to work as a landman for the Gulf Oil Company. The transfer from New York to New Mexico was no doubt a cultural experience, but New Mexico won his heart and here he stayed. Norm raised his children Norman L. "Larry" Stevens, III, David M. "Davey" Stevens and Patricia A. Stevens, who he fondly called "Pitta Jane", in Roswell. Norm was a great father to his children, a great grandfather to his grandkids, and a great friend to many. He was an avid fly fisherman, bird hunter, swimmer and skier. Norm was a member of the first organized military ski patrol in the United States. He began skiing at Sierra Blanca Ski Area the year it opened. He would routinely take his kids as well as neighborhood children skiing at Sierra Blanca during winters. It was not uncommon to see kids in his neighborhood standing in front of their homes early on Saturday and Sunday mornings waiting for Norm to pick them up and take them skiing. He loved skiing and he loved sharing it with others. There is a rumor out there that Norm Stevens taught more kids to ski than the entirety of the Sierra Blanca Ski School.
Norm was a principal in several Roswell based oil and gas exploration and production companies, including Read & Stevens, Inc., with his partner, Charles B. Read, for more than 20 years. Norm and Charlie were some of the early pioneers of wildcatting in the Permian Basin and they were very good at what they did. Norm continued to be active in numerous family oil and gas businesses late into his retirement. Norm was instrumental in starting the Oilfield Training Center at RIAC to teach the next generation the skills necessary to be successful in the oil patch. And, many a successful operator got their start with Norm. Norm and Charlie coined the phrase "Get your Oil from U.S. Soil" and that became the operating slogan for Read and Stevens, Inc.
Norm was very active in a number of industry, civic and charitable organizations over his long career. His special favorite was Roswell Rotary Club. Norm believed in giving back to the community from which he derived great success and he did so freely. His Rotary friends were some of his closest and those Rotarians who knew him well knew that Norm frequently contributed to the organization, its members and its meetings in lively ways. Norm also helped educate the children of others by helping with admissions and tuition at New Mexico Military Institute.
Norm and his wife of 24 years, Dolores B. Stevens, moved to the "Hondo Chosa" in the Hondo Valley and subsequently he built the "Sanchez Place" in Hondo, where they welcomed friends and family. Norm was preceded in death by his beloved grandson, John Carpenter Stevens (September 19, 1984-August 6, 2015). He is survived by his children Larry Stevens and his wife Nancy, of Houston, TX and Santa Fe, NM, David M. Stevens and his wife Vonna of Roswell, NM and Hondo, NM, and Patricia Stevens and her husband Robert Minkin of San Juan Capistrano, CA. Norm is also survived by his grandchildren Katherine D. Stevens of Brooklyn, NY and Delaina M. Stevens and Christina N. Stevens, both of Austin, TX. He is also survived by his wife, Dolores and her children, Holly C. McGuire and her husband Andy, of Colorado Springs, her son Bill Bixler and his wife Colleen of Oceanside, CA, daughter Jeannie G. Adams and husband Ken of Perkins, OK and daughter Barbara L. Smith and husband, Mike of Dolores, CO., grandchildren Ryan Inman, Aubrey Inman, Bill P. Bixler, Haley M. Bixler and Nicole E. Bixler, Casey Adams, Lindsey Winkler and Larissa Boyd, Dakota, Sydney, James and Chandler Smith and 7 great grandchildren.
Dolores and the Stevens family would like to thank the caregivers: Maria Young, Melissa Hutchins, Carol Robertson, Hadith Alatorre, Ellen Knoll and Elizabeth Portillo, who gave him love and care.
In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to the charity of your choice.
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of his life at the Roswell Country Club on Friday, August 12, 2016 from 4:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m. Please join us.