Errol Stepp: A Memorium

My father died last week. His death was the end of a fairly quick decline; he fell and broke his hip in September, and the path he was following was clear from that day until his death.

Several visits to the emergency room, COVID (after he managed to stay uninfected for two years), a multifocal stroke (probably COVID-related), pneumonia, etc.–that was the path.

As in every good story, according to Aristotle, when you look back at the way it ended, it seems inevitable.

He died at age 85, outliving his dad and granddad (both of whom died at 84). He had a good life, and made a huge impact for the Kingdom.

Over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of revisiting the churches he pastored over the past half-century, and heard over and over the stories of the impact that he and my mother had in those places. “Errol baptized us.” “Errol married us.” “We loved your mother SO MUCH, she added so much to our worship services.” “Your dad and mom mentored us through a tough time in our marriage.” And so on.

The legacy he and my mother leave behind is lives that are better because of their presence. That’s no small thing.

Here is his obituary:

Our beloved father, Errol Leon Stepp, 85, of Edgewood, New Mexico, died in Albuquerque on December 27, 2022 after a brief illness. He died surrounded by his children.

Errol was born in Wichita, Kansas on April 24, 1937. He was raised in the Wichita area. He graduated from Valley Center (Kansas) High School, where he was active in athletics and choir. After graduating high school, he attended Midwest Christian College in Oklahoma City, earning a bachelor’s degree in Bible. He then attended Oklahoma State University, earning a masters degree in educational counseling.

Errol ministered in churches in Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. In addition to his vocation in ministry, he was active in the Kiwanis Club and the Republican party.

In 1986, along with his wife, Joyce Stepp, Errol founded Valley View Christian Church in Edgewood, where he served as senior minister until his retirement in 2001. While serving with Valley View Christian Church, Errol became involved with planting other churches in New Mexico and in the El Paso (Texas) area, and served as executive director of the Christian Church Starters until his retirement in 2017. Evangelism, disciple-making, church planting, and climbing the 14,000-footers in Colorado were his great passions.

Errol and Joyce Ann Stepp met during high school in Valley Center. They were married for fifty-one years, until her death in 2014. Errol remarried in 2016, to Rita (Bailey) Stepp of Wilmington, North Carolina. They were married for three years, until her death in 2020.

Besides being preceded in death by Joyce and Rita, Errol was also preceded by his father, Virgil Leon Stepp; his mother, Nellie Josephine Stepp; and his brother, Milton Stepp. He is survived by his children, Perry Leon Stepp of Bowling Green, Kentucky and Zagreb, Croatia; Kelly Rae Benthem of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Kara Lynn Stepp, of Qinghai, China; eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Errol’s life epitomized his favorite text from the Bible, Hebrews 10:39: “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”

Errol’s life will be celebrated at Valley View Christian Church on January 15 at 2.00 pm., to be followed by a reception. A link to the livestream will be posted prior to the event.

In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to the Christian Church Starters (www.christianchurchstarters.com) or the Valley View Christian Church benevolence fund (https://pushpay.com/g/valleyviewnow, select a specific project.)

Rest in peace, rise in glory!

One thought on “Errol Stepp: A Memorium

  1. Perry,
    Just seeing this overview of your Dad’s life makes it clear what a loss you’ve sustained. I do think it’s easier though, to let go when you know he had nothing to regret and accomplished great things for other people, making God more well known! Still I’m sorry for the way I know it must feel for now. But not for long;-)

    Lynette Hoyt

    Like

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