It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved founding member and President, Steven T. Kuykendall. Steve was a proud American, a former U.S. Congressman and family man whose life was defined by service and family. He had an indelible impact on our organization, and in our community, also serving as a longstanding member of Rotary Club of Long Beach and as a board member of American Gold Star Manor. Importantly, our Board of Directors are united in continuing Steve’s vision in serving the military and veteran communities throughout Southern California. He will be deeply missed.
Fisher House Southern California pays tribute to our beloved and inspiring colleague.
Steven T. Kuykendall, age 73, passed away on Friday, January 22, 2021 at home in Long Beach, CA, surrounded by his family, after an 18 month battle with pulmonary fibrosis. He was born on January 27, 1947 in McAlester, Oklahoma to Henry and Frances (Campbell) Kuykendall and was the oldest of three children.
As a child, Steve was instilled with an extraordinary work ethic from his parents that started as a youngster, spending five years as a paper boy for the The Daily Oklahoman and The Oklahoma Times. Little did he know that his paper throwing experience would lead to him being recruited and granted a scholarship to attend Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH from 1962-1963. Steve said the academic discipline and expectations that Exeter provided were indelible and changed his life profoundly.
Steve’s parents also ingrained in him an obligation to help with civic, church, school, neighborhood and community projects that not only characterized his life, but also defined him as a man. After graduating from Oklahoma City University in 1968, Steve was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps, serving from 1968-1973, including two tours in Vietnam. On October 3, 1970, he married Janice Francis in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and together they had three children.
Steve served 20 years in the mortgage banking industry (using his B.S. in Economics from OCU and MBA degree from San Diego State) which gave him an appreciation for our nation’s economy and the power of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Steve was a proud American and family man whose life was defined by service and family. As an elected official he served as councilman and Mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes (1991-1994), California State Assemblyman (1994-1998), and Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1999-2001). He also served as an Alternate Delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention and a Delegate to the 2000 and 2008 Republican National Conventions.
Steve’s volunteer and non-profit work was a central part of his life as a way to give back to his community. Steve was a long-time resident of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, serving as AYSO Region 10 Regional Commission and Palos Verdes Peninsula Education Foundation (volunteer and subsequent Director, Treasurer, and President). He was a founding board member of Fisher House Southern California Inc., serving as President from its inception in 2012 to 2021. Steve also was a ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church USA ordained at St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in RPV, CA where he also helped create the local church’s endowment funds. He was the past President of the Los Angeles Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni Association.
He is survived by his beautiful wife of 50 years, Jan; daughter, Kerry (Matthew) Smith, son Brent (Salvatrice) Kuykendall, son Craig (Lauren) Kuykendall; and 7 grandchildren, of whom he was especially proud to be called their “Papa”. In lieu of flowers, Steve has requested that donations be made out, in his name, to the Peninsula Education Foundation or Fisher House Foundation Southern California.
Visit this link to view Steve’s obituary in The Grunion.
Click here to make a donation in Steve’s memory.