Former Lake Union superintendent of education passes


Fred Stephan faithfully served the Church for 40 years; was superintendent of Michigan and director of education for the North American Division.

On October 24, 2022, Frederick Russell Stephan died at Woodland Terrace in Bridgman, MI at the age of 94 awaiting the second coming of his beloved Savior.

Fred was born on June 4, 1928 in Grand Rapids, MI. He was the fourth of six children who all predeceased him, including his younger brothers Ralph Stephan and James Stephan and his older siblings Alice Clapp, Christian Stephan and Gertrude Bigorowski.

Fred met his wife Sylvia (Wente) while attending Emmanuel Missionary College in Berrien Springs, MI. After graduation, Fred and Sylvia moved to Wisconsin where he pastored the Seventh-day Adventist Church from 1955 to 1960. During this time, their first child Brian was born in Eau Claire, and four years later , Elise was born in Green Bay. .

From 1960 to 1966 he was principal of the Wisconsin Academy where Fred became passionate about serving the Lord through education and remained in the field of education the rest of his career. Fred left Wisconsin and accepted the call to be Superintendent of Education for Southern New England in 1967 in South Lancaster, MA. This is where their third child Jill was born. He remained in New England until 1969, when he agreed to serve as superintendent of education for the Michigan Conference. Two years later the family moved to Berrien Springs where Fred became Lake Union’s superintendent of education until 1980. His next calling took him to Maryland where he became the education director K-12 for the North American Division of the General Conference. He then returned to Lake Union as Superintendent of Education in 1990 and remained there until his retirement in 1995.

In retirement, Fred and Sylvia found more time to travel and visit family. They also enjoyed volunteering at Miller Farm, a historic farm in upstate New York. After Sylvia became too ill to travel, Fred faithfully cared for her until she predeceased him in 2014.

Fred was a loving father to their three surviving children, F. Brian Stephan (Cindy), Elise Damron (Don) and Jill Simon (Matthew). Fred also leaves behind 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Fred loved his family and made sure to spend time each week with each child. Holidays were always made more enjoyable with treats he helped prepare, such as popcorn balls and toffees, and Sabbaths were greeted weekly with a special family worship. When the grandchildren arrived, his love extended to them as well. Each grandchild cherishes special memories with their grandfather, such as receiving special packages in the mail.

He will be sadly missed by the family and all who knew him, but we have blessed hope. “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” I Thessalonians 4:17 (NKJV).

A memorial service honoring his life will be held Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. in the Youth Chapel of Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs, MI. You can join the livestreamed service at

Messages and keepsakes may be shared online at

If you would like to make a donation in Fred’s honor, please go to This will take you to a Michigan Conference electronic tithing envelope. Simply scroll down until you find Christian Education Scholarship Endowment, a scholarship created to help families with K-12 Adventist education tuition needs, and indicate the amount of your donation .

Lake Union Herald Staff


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