Stephen Joseph Clement died Thursday, December 17, 2020, at the age of 75, following a four-year battle with cancer. Steve was born in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on October 30, 1945. The oldest child of Joseph Edward Clement, a career marine, and Alfreda Rosalia Drazga, Steve moved with his siblings Tony and Margaret throughout the Carolinas and across the country to Orange County, California.
Known in his younger years as “nature boy,” Steve thrived on time spent outdoors and in museums, libraries, and school, where he most loved and excelled in math and science. He concocted explosives and blew holes in the backyard with his brother in El Toro, and compiled thorough collections of insects, butterflies, and coins.
After graduating in 1964 from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, Steve worked his way through Santa Ana College and the University of Arizona. When a professor noticed his talents and recommended a career in pharmacy, Steve went with the flow and graduated with a bachelor of science in pharmacy in 1970.
A treasure hunter and avid student of life, Steve explored the natural beauty of California as a traveling pharmacist in Orange County, San Francisco, and Sonora before putting down roots in Del Norte County. Steve served our community as the local hospital’s pharmacist for about 30 years, moving from the original Seaside Hospital to Sutter Coast. There, he was known to his work family as a passionately diligent perfectionist who always put the safety of patients and colleagues first.
Through work, Steve met his wife Jeanne Marie and became a parent to her daughter Jeanne Joe. He filled their home in Gasquet with dogs, nature, books, and creative projects-- like building wooden swords for his daughter’s sixth grade production of Romeo and Juliet, turning a satellite dish into a gazebo, and transforming the family’s redwood cabin into an architectural gem. Known to those who loved him as a true free spirit, deep optimist, and something of a wizard, Steve was an expert hobbyist in gold prospecting, astronomy, geology, chemistry, divination, film, upcycling, and design; chased eclipses in Baja in 1991 and Oregon in 2017; rode his bicycle the length of Northern California; toured through deserts, mountains, and coastland in his motorcycles and sports cars; and liberally used the word “groovy.”
A beloved husband, step-father, brother, uncle, and friend, there is no one else like Steve. He had a heart of gold and will be deeply missed. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.