James Casey Stevenson
November 3, 1945 – January 5, 2020
James Casey Stevenson (Jim), 74, son of the late Joseph G. and Jacqueline P. Stevenson of Salisbury, MD. and brother of the late Robert Bratten Stevenson passed away on January 5th, 2020 after a three week stay in the hospital ICU unit in Knoxville, TN.
Jim grew up in Salisbury, was a 1963 graduate of Wicomico high school, and lived nearly his entire life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland which he dearly loved. Even as a three-year old Jim displayed his high intelligence and intense curiosity by taking apart and actually putting back together a Lionel train transformer. His life mirrored this level of curiosity, tactile agility and an amazing “zoning out” from external distractions. These attributes enabled a life and career as an extraordinarily talented and successful woodworking and “Jack of all trades” craftsman. Added to these, as a youth Jim excelled in sports, ranging from Red Shield football, tennis, baseball, and his forte’ as a competitive diver for the Canal Park and Elks Club swim teams. Once during his sports “career” he even won the Wicomico Country ping-pong championship.
Jim’s mastery of art without any formal training was incredulous. Once, using nothing but a ball point pen, he inked on poster board four large images of the human heart, using his Dad’s medical school textbooks as a guide. He entered this into the school project’s fair. After intense scrutiny by the judges, laboring as to whether these images were professionally done- even photographs or as Jim claimed, his own work, they voted in his favor-taking first prize. He was that good.
In high school shop class, at 16, he designed, built, and beautifully finished in brilliant white a working electric guitar that he played in a local small pop-musical group for several years. He was an avid 50’s pop music aficionado (“junkie”) copying and playing sets from artists such as The Kingston Trio, Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. More than once, Jim jokingly woke up a brother while strumming his guitar at bedside and singing “Wake Up Little Susie,” much to the chagrin of his sleeping sibling. Diversity was Jim’s middle name. In all of these endeavors, he displayed a calm but intense demeanor overlaid with supreme concentration and confidence. He was well known as a fierce competitor with a level head and had a precocious reputation for being a “good sport,” win or lose, an unusual trait for youths then and now. Further evidence of young Jim’s prodigious potential was seen in his selection in the ninth grade for a one year’s paid scholarship to Mount St. Joseph’s Catholic preparatory school sponsored by Xavierian Brothers in Baltimore, MD. This selection by the leadership staff at St. Francis de Sales Catholic school where Jim served as an altar boy in Salisbury, gave testimony to Jim’s developing spiritual being, high moral aptitude, kindness, integrity and academic achievement; all traits he further developed throughout his life.
In short, Jim could design and craft anything made of wood: cabinets, furniture, cornices, complex moldings, full home renovations. If one could conceive it, Jim could and would build it better than anyone. That talent extended beyond wood. As an avid fisherman, he fabricated from scratch beautiful surf casting fishing rods, that he not only used personally but on occasion literally gave away to a friend. At one point in his career, due to his reputation for excellence, he was hired solo to completely refurbish the inside of a historic home. With an unlimited budget he completed it after two years of work to great acclaim. Everything Jim designed and built revealed world class craftmanship, for which he earned his remarkable reputation.
Over the course of his 40-plus year career, he and his surviving love-of-his-life wife for 53 years, Sandy, worked their small business together until failing health forced both into early retirement. Jim inspired all who knew him, most especially his family. One of his four children, Dane, inspired and trained by his Dad, followed him into the same career field, and is now a highly successful and respected craftsman and business man in his own right.
Jim was a kind, loving and devoted father and husband, who loved to spend time with his family enjoying the nearby beach, walking the boardwalk or relaxing fishing or crabbing. Many a family reunion occurred at their home over a bushel of family-netted crabs from secret “need to know” local sites. Jim, with a pure and generous heart never failed to lend a hand to anyone who needed help, especially if related to his craft. In particular, he was forever willing when one of his three brothers came calling for physical assistance with one of their projects, or for technical information regarding stripping and refinishing furniture, one of Jim’s specialties, or any other request, bar none.
Of special significance, Jim and Sandy, in the most selfless gesture imaginable, took into their home to live and care for Jim’s brother-in-law, Brian Scott Dean who suffers from Downs Syndrome. For fifteen years to the present he was and is their fourth son.
Also, miraculously, they have raised and adopted from six months their sweet grandson, Zac, now 11. In all of this Jim actively, generously and lovingly participated as a Dad, even while suffering from eventual life-ending health issues.
Jim’s early passing is a tragedy and he will be missed beyond measure. Yet, his deep spiritual conviction, prayerful manner and virtuous life leaves no doubt, whatsoever, that he will spend the rest of eternity with his Lord and Savior.
In addition to his wife, Sandy, Jim is survived by his “six” children: Paige Stevenson of Berlin, MD; Shawna Guney of McKinney, TX; Troy of Sterling, VA; Dane Stevenson of Chicago, IL.; eight grandchildren: Walker, Lylah, Dylan (Dane); Chloe (Troy); Kubilay and Keyan (Shawna); Gabriel and Ryden (Paige); two brothers: Jack of Fairfax, VA and Thom of Annapolis, MD.; and of course his brother-in-law, Scotty, and his grandson and adoptive son Zach.
Jim will be interred in Salisbury, Md. A memorial service will be held at Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury, projected in March. Flowers may be sent there or alternatively contributions in lieu of flowers may be provided to Salvation Army in Tennessee or to The American Diabetes Association.