Steven James Ovel, 73, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away at home on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, following a valiant battle with glioblastoma. Visitation from 3:00 to 7:00 PM on Tuesday, July 27th at the Cedar Memorial Chapel Stateroom. A memorial service will be held at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, July 28th at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center: 7725 Kirkwood Boulevard SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404. A light luncheon will follow the memorial service. Private family inurnment will be at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery.
The memorial service can be viewed at: www.kirkwood.edu/steveovel at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
Born on March 29, 1948, Steve was a life-long resident of Cedar Rapids and a graduate of Cedar Rapids Washington High School. He earned a B.S. degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Iowa State University where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and met his future wife, Susan Weih Ovel, on a blind date. They were united in marriage on February 20, 1971, in Cedar Rapids, IA.
In 1971, Steve’s career began with the City of Cedar Rapids, Department of Planning and Redevelopment. In 1974 he joined his family businesses, Iowa Pipe and Supply Company and Cedar Manufacturing Company.
Steve’s 34 years of service with Kirkwood Community College began in 1983, holding several administrative positions and garnering numerous awards. He served as a full-time legislative lobbyist on behalf of Kirkwood and the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees for 25 years.
A life-long member of the First Congregational Church, UCC, he served as Chairman of their Board of Trustees. He was a 42-year member of the Cedar Rapids Downtown Rotary Club.
Steve’s most beloved volunteer service was with the Hawkeye Area Council, Boy Scouts of America for over 25 years. In addition to holding several leadership positions, he served as Cubmaster for Pack 3, his own Pack as a scouting youth, and as Scoutmaster for Troop 3, both in Grant Wood School.
Steve was an Eagle Scout, was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, and proudly assisted 35 young men earn the rank of Eagle Scout during his tenure as Scoutmaster.
Steve was an active and effective volunteer at the community, state, and national levels, sharing his leadership skills on more than 15 boards in areas of higher education, scouting, human services, aging, corrections, nature, and economic development, to name a few.
Steve raced Enduro Go Karts for 19 years, was an active single engine aircraft pilot, a life-long distance runner, an active cyclist, and an active wilderness backpacker and mountain climber. He climbed some of the world’s tallest peaks including trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal and trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. He was especially proud to summit all 54 Colorado peaks above 14,000 feet a total of 96 times. Steve, together with his two sons, agreed their most challenging and rewarding adventure together was backpacking the 235-mile length of the John Muir Trail in Southern California.
Steve was grateful for the blessing of a long, healthy, and active life that truly reflected the spirit of the Scout oath. The honor of his advocacy to do the right thing, go the extra mile, and leave things better than found, will continue to impact those individuals and institutions he served. He taught us how to live, as well as how to die, and experienced an outpouring of love and support that touched him deeply.
Steve is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Susan Ovel of Cedar Rapids; two sons, Chad (Thu) of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Ryan (Dawn) of Cedar Rapids; brother, G. Scott Ovel of Cedar Rapids; and sister Barbara Lemon of Hiawatha, Iowa. Steve was blessed by six grandchildren; Vienna and Isabella Ovel of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Emma, Olivia, Claire, and Henry Ovel of Cedar Rapids; nephew, Zach Ovel and three nieces, Stacey (Mitchell) Crist; Melissa (Matt) Doudna and Jennifer (Erin) Durgin all of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents Gerald L. Ovel and Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Ovel, and his father’s second wife, Audrey Linge Ovel.
In lieu of flowers, please honor Steve’s lifelong interest in learning and opening doors of opportunity with memorials suggested to The Kirkwood Foundation: email@example.com to fund the Steve and Susan Ovel Endowed Impact Fund, or to Hawkeye Area Council, Boy Scouts of America: https://donations.scouting.org/#/council/172/appeal/1237