Tourism pioneer and environmental steward Stan Stephens recently passed away and we would like to recognize Stan Stephens and his family for their awesome contribution to our Alaska tour programs.
The relationship between John Hall Sr and Stan Stephens began over 20 years ago. Sr likes to talk about meeting Stan and remarking about his passion for Prince William Sound and getting people to know about its existence as a tour destination. Their passion for bringing guests a true Alaskan experience was a passion that united them. Fast forward two decades and you have a family friendship as well as a business partnership that sees 90% of John Hall’s Alaska guests enjoying a marine and glacier adventure aboard a Stan Stephens vessel, touring the pristine waters of Prince William Sound. We would like to put in writing our heartfelt condolences to the Stephens’ family. Stan’s passing will leave a big void, but the memories he created in each and every John Hall’s Alaska guest will live on through stories, photos and smiles. We will miss you!
More about Stan’s Life (from the Alaska Tourism Industry Association):
Born November 16, 1934 in Perham, Minnesota, Stan moved to North Pole, Alaska in 1961 and married the love of his life Mary Helen Stephens in 1964. They raised 3 daughters in North Pole where Stan worked as a mechanic and spent his weekends exploring the state and Prince William Sound. He fell in love with PWS and in 1971 founded his first company, North Star Marine Charters, specializing in hunting and fishing tours out of Valdez. In 1978 he and Mary Helen founded Stan Stephens Charters, a company dedicated to sharing the glaciers and wildlife of PWS with tourists from around the country and the world. A pioneer of cruising in the region, he loved being on the water showcasing the place he loved the most.
Stan was one of the fathers of the Alaska tourism industry and was dogged in his pursuit of helping the industry thrive and grow. Not only did he diligently work to promote Valdez, he dedicated his time and resources to ensure that funding was present to market Alaska to the nation and the world. He was instrumental in the Alaska Visitors Industry Association, Alaska Wilderness Recreation Tourism Association, and the Alaska Travel industry Association.
Stan was a meticulous steward of Prince William Sound and after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, publically declared that he would dedicate the rest of his life to making sure the area was protected. He worked diligently with industry to ensure that PWS was a safe cold weather shipping port and to ensure that the environment and marine residents were protected.
Stan lived his life by the following guidelines: He implicitly trusted people and allowed them to fulfill their promises and perform to their highest potential. He committed himself 100 percent to any mission he embarked upon. He believed in building alliances and relationships that allowed views from all sides of an issue to reach a positive outcome. Stan was a mentor to hundreds of employees, coworkers, and industry officials and was an amazing man that changed lives and provided direction to all he encountered.
Surviving are his wife of 49 years, Mary Helen Stephens; daughters Carrie Nash and family of Fairbanks, AK, Jenna Stephens and family of Seattle, WA and Colleen Stephens and family of Valdez.