Stephen Neal Blackwell

On Thursday, September 15, 2022, Stephen Neal Blackwell, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather passed away. He was 67. Born to Richard and Dorothy Blackwell, Steve graduated from Concordia High School in 1973. He served in the US Army as a medic from 1976 to 1978. He was a proud veteran and continued to support the military. He earned his BS in Psychology from The University of Kansas and later earned his MBA from Baker University. Steve worked for Kansas Foundation for Medical Care for 29 years and later worked for Sunflower Health Plan and KDHE.

Steve was an active part of his children’s and grandchildren’s lives. He attended many of their activities and organized fun and unique games at family gatherings such as firecracker baseball, water balloon races and ice cream eating contests. 

Steve met Jeanie Brown in 1995 and they married in 2007. Along with Jeanie, he is survived by his daughters Stephanie (Jim) Keller, Erica (Nate) Hill, Barclay Hagen, Brianne (Casey) Cook, grandchildren Kobe, Madelyn, Kaden, Harleigh, Mason, Cayman, Mikah, Grayson, Brogan, Kiyana and Brittyn along with several nieces and nephews.

Steve loved history, different eras of music and working on the family farm in Aurora. Most of all, he loved Jesus and took the opportunity to share his faith with those around him. He glorified Jesus by the life he lived. Steve helped and encouraged others and made everyone feel welcome and important. His altruism will continue to have a lasting impact on the lives of countless people.

Visitation will be held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Lawrence on Friday, September 23 at 10 a.m. with Catholic Mass to follow. A graveside service will be held at Saint Peters Cemetery in Aurora, KS on Saturday, September 24 at 11 a.m. In honor of Steve’s passion for history and helping children, donations may be sent to O’Connell Youth Ranch, 1646 N 1320 Road, Lawrence, KS 66046 or Nicodemus National Historic Society, 611 5th Street, Bogue, KS 67625 in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W 13th St. Lawrence, KS 66044.

44 Condolences

  1. Enid Terlizzi on September 19, 2022 at 12:41 pm

    Garth and I were saddened to hear of Steve’s passing. Steve was always so kind and caring when we spoke with him, and I know he was a wonderful husband, father, and family man. He will be missed. We send our prayers and condolences to all of you. Enid

  2. Pat Parker on September 19, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Our family was sorry to hear about Steve’s passing. Condolences and prayers.

  3. Brad Drotts on September 19, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Words seem so feeble
    in moments like these.
    Life is so precious,
    and death is such a thief.
    The depths of the pain
    I cannot comprehend,
    but friends will stand alongside you
    in the darkness.
    I did not know Steve but I do know you, and although I’m just a distant acquaintance Jeanie, that does not subdue my sadness for your loss. My prayers will be with you.

  4. Bill Arnold on September 20, 2022 at 11:02 am

    I only worked with Stephen for about a year and a half at KDHE, but I will thoroughly miss him. I very much enjoyed all the conversations he and I had, which were unfortunately limited at times due to our Covid-related hybrid work schedules. But literally every time we talked, he went out of his way to let me know how truly and honestly interested he was in hearing about places I’ve been, things that interested me, even the little details of my life, my pets, my little home-improvement projects, whatever happened to be going on. He didn’t have to do that. He did it because it’s who he genuinely was. May God Bless Stephen and his family.

  5. Deirdre Harman on September 20, 2022 at 11:38 am

    Stephen was such a pleasure to be around. He was such a sweet, upbeat guy. When our department changed to a hybrid (then to fully remote) work from home schedule due to COVID, I had weekly virtual Teams meetings to help him with IT related questions. I always looked forward to those meetings because we would end up commiserating over pets, diet, careers, travel, and family. When we were in the office our cubicles were next to each other and he always had the kindest things to say about people and life. My thoughts go out to the family he loved and always talked about with such pride. Stephen’s passing is such an enormous loss to everyone who knew him.

  6. Mark Hummel Family on September 20, 2022 at 11:53 am

    Our condolences for your loss. I knew Steve from family friends, church and the gym. He was Very nice guy who was spoke with pride about his family. We are really going to miss him.

  7. Laura and Andrew Wilson on September 20, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    Praying for your comfort and peace during this unimaginable time of sorrow. Our deepest sympathies.

  8. Jan Cunningham on September 20, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    I always have enjoyed seeing the family photos and have been so impressed how involved you were in your grandchildren’s lives. What a wonderful family. So very sorry for your loss. Why does it seem that it is always the very best among us who go too young?

  9. Raelene on September 20, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Erica, I’m so sorry. Peace to you and your family.

  10. Jessica Brack on September 20, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    RIP Steve. You were always a pleasure to be around. So sweet, kind and caring. You will be missed. Praying for all of Steve ‘s family and friends.

  11. Gail Sell on September 20, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    Jeanie and family, condolences on your loss. I pray your sweet memories will help ease your sorrow.

  12. Frank DeSalvo on September 20, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    Jeanie, Brianne and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss and trust that you will draw strength from each other during this difficult time.

  13. Jody Casad Chatam on September 20, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Jeannie and Family, Jody Casad Chatam and Jerry are so sorry to hear about the loss of your loving husband Steve. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

  14. Kelly , Jonette and family on September 20, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    Jeanie and family we are so very sorry to hear this. Our hearts are broken for you all. I will never forget the car ride to canoe and Steve didn’t think I was a very good driver.

  15. Lois and Jim Lewin on September 20, 2022 at 4:32 pm

    Thinking of you Jeanie and family. You have such a strong loving family to help each other through this sad time

  16. Tom and Chris Girard on September 20, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    My cousin Steve was a great father, grandfather, husband and friend to many. I was a ring bearer at his parent’s wedding in Aurora, Kansas.
    He was a great family man and will be missed by all those whose lives he touched. He will be truly missed.

  17. Lisa and Ben Barletta on September 20, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    Jeanie and family…our thoughts and prayers are with all of you today and in the days ahead. May precious memories you made together always bring you warmth and comfort.

  18. Heather and Brad Jones on September 20, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    We are so sad to hear about Steve’s passing. I will always remember his big smile and how proud he was of his kids and grandchildren. He will surely be missed. Our prayers and love go out to Jeanie and the family.
    Heather and Brad Jones

  19. Karen P on September 20, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    I didn’t “know” Steve, but I knew he was a wonderful person through Brianne. I do have a memory of him that comes to my mind often: he and Jeanie kneeling together in church. I have that confident hope that his soul is rejoicing with the Savior before Whom he knelt that Sunday. May his memory be eternal!

  20. Bria on September 20, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Steve was one of the first “grown ups” I met when we moved to Lawrence. I was in 5th grade and spent a lot of time at their house, he always made me feel welcome. I remember Steve working out at the gym, helping with homework & making sure we always had a healthy meal. I honestly think dinner at their house is why I like peas! He was always very supportive, even when Erica and I made a mess with our science fair project!

    Fast forward to the past couple of years, he was so kind to everyone around him. He could be seen volunteering in the kitchen at Corpus..maybe washing dishes or doing whatever was needed! Steve, you will be missed by many.

  21. Tiffany Strohmeyer on September 20, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Jeanie, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts. May his memory be a blessing.

  22. Melissa McCormick and Ed Noonen on September 21, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Jeanie, we are so sorry to hear about Steve’s passing. You and your family have our deepest sympathy. Sending you peace and love.

  23. Jane, Lance, Cole and Sommer Wright on September 21, 2022 at 8:33 am

    Steph, our heart breaks for you and your family. We know how much family and faith means to you. May the Lord wrap his loving arms around you all and and give you peace and understanding to make it through this difficult time. We are all here for you in whatever you may need. Lots of love and prayers.

  24. Jerry and Janet Magnuson on September 21, 2022 at 11:29 am

    Jerry and I are so sorry to hear of your loss. We have many fond memories of you, Stephanie, and Keri playing volleyball and spending time together. Steve was always so wonderful to be around. What a great guy!

  25. Jim McDaniel on September 21, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    Steve was in my class at Concordia High School. I do not recall ever seeing Steve without a smile on his face and a positive word coming out of his mouth. The Concordia Class of ‘73 lost a good man. My heartfelt condolences to all who loved Steve.

  26. Beverly and Ted Hayden on September 21, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Steve was the “good neighbor” that we never lived by. He never forgot where he came from and knew where he was going. Our memory of Steve is the Good Guy who truly had time for others.

  27. Charlie and Melanie Hoch on September 21, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Jeanie, our thoughts are with you and your family at this time. We only met Steve a couple of times, but we enjoyed a fun evening on our boat a few years ago. May the memories you shared together bring you comfort.

  28. Alan and Lila Dunning on September 21, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    What a darling husband, Jeanie! I didn’t know Steve, but my heart aches for you during this time of profound loss. My sincere condolences…praying for you and your lovely family! 🙏🏼 🌹🙌🏼 ♥️

  29. Melody Gryner on September 21, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    John, Leslee & families
    Sending thought and prayers during this difficult time. So sorry for your loss.
    Love Melody

  30. Terie B. on September 21, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    So sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. I worked with him several years at Sunflower & he was the kindness and most enjoyable coworker. I feel blessed to have known him. Sincerest sympathy to all of his loved ones and friends.

  31. Charlie and Nancy Yockey on September 22, 2022 at 7:44 am

    Jeanie and family-

    Nancy and I are so sorry for your loss. When I first met Steve 35 years ago, we became instant friends. When we talked recently and he shared what was going on with him, we agreed to pray for each other’s needs. During his years at KFMC, he was such a great help to me. I specifically remember that he had such a big heart for anyone “down and out,” or in need.

    We will continue praying for you and your family.

  32. Kenna Tait on September 22, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    Brianne, Casey and family,
    Words cannot express how saddened I was to hear of your loss.
    May all your happy memories bring you peace and comfort during this sad time.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  33. Stephen Vincent on September 22, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    My wife and I were first introduced to Stephen and Jeanie a few years years ago by a mutual friend. What a nice person Stephen was. We always enjoyed seeing Stephen and Jeanie at get togethers. This is a tough loss for everyone, especially their family.

  34. Kelley (Hall) Elliott on September 22, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    I am so very sorry for this tremendous loss. Prayers that your memories stay vivid and you find lots of peace and comfort in them..

  35. Ryan Devlin on September 22, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    Stephanie, Erica and family, I’m so sorry for your loss of your father. I offer you and your family my deepest sympathies, love and prayers.

  36. Katy Friedebach on September 23, 2022 at 7:56 am

    Praying for your comfort and peace during this tremendous loss. I am heartbroken for you and everyone who knew Steve. He brought so much light into the world. I worked with Steve at Sunflower and am thinking back on his laughter, kindness, funny stories, gifts of food, and absolute commitment to making a difference in the lives of those around him…. and he certainly did.

  37. J.D. Cleavinger on September 23, 2022 at 10:11 am

    Jeanie Stephanie Erica & Family
    I am saddened & heartbroken to hear of your loss of a kind and caring husband father & grandfather. I know that y’all are extremely saddened and will miss him. Personally I will miss the conversation we had at the health club.
    May Peace & Comfort find and be with Y’all during these tough times

  38. DOUG BROWN on September 23, 2022 at 11:55 am

    I was shocked and saddened when I heard that Steve had passed. I spoke with him nearly every day for the past few years at the gym. He was a kind, caring person. I always enjoyed our conversations. So sorry for your loss.

  39. Elaine Rethman on September 23, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    Jeanie and family, we were so saddened to hear of your loss. We offer condolences and will keep you in our prayers,
    Elaine and Terry Rethman

  40. Lisa M. Engelken on September 24, 2022 at 5:07 am

    Jeanie, I am so very sorry to learn of Steve’s passing. The video is a beautiful testimony in music and images of a life well lived, filled with love. May you and your family find solace and comfort in each other’s eyes and arms. I send love and light to you and to all of your family.

  41. Linda L Trotter on September 24, 2022 at 7:11 am

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family. I always enjoyed visiting with Steve at the gym and keeping up with the family. May he rest in peace.

  42. Keith and Mendy Schlaegel on September 24, 2022 at 9:17 am

    We were so sorry to hear of Steve’s loss. May you all find peace and strength for the days ahead, and comfort in the memories that you share as his loved ones.

  43. Jane ‘Demars’ Demanette on September 24, 2022 at 9:45 am

    I’m saddened to hear of Steve’s passing. I grew up next to him in Aurora. We played house and went on vacation one year to South Dakota with the Blackwell’s. I lost track of him pretty much after high school other than through his parents. He did good! Many prayers for his family.

  44. David Engelken on September 25, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    Beautiful memories, Jeanie, thank you for this, a joyous tribute for both of you and your family. Blessings on this tough journey; you’re starting from a very love-enriched place.

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