Steven Craig Estes

February 8, 1953April 20, 2021

Steven C. Estes, age 68, of Jacksonville FL passed away on April 20, 2021. He was born in Rantoul, Illinois to the late Helen and Dick Estes. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother Kenny, and his ex-wife Jane. The third of six sons, he is survived by his brothers Jeff (Rhonda), Mikel, Jay (Dian), and Jon (Diane). He is also survived by his daughter Stephanie Estes.

Steve graduated from Rantoul High School, where he played football and wrestled. He was selected to attend the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he played center on the football team in 1971 and 1972. The day after graduation in 1975, he and Jane Morris were married. Steve then went to flight school in Pensacola and earned his wings as a fighter pilot. He served on aircraft carriers including the America, the Nimitz, and the Independence, flying a wide variety of aircraft. His favorite was the F-14 Tomcat, which he taught other pilots to land on carriers.

After leaving the Navy, he moved to Jacksonville and worked with Mayor Ed Austin on projects such as United Way and the effort to bring the USS Saratoga to Jacksonville as a museum. In 1995 during the Bosnian crisis he worked for NATO in Italy. Later he used his engineering degree working for Southeastern Mechanical Services in construction. Before retiring in 2014, he enjoyed selling cars at Mike Shad Ford.

A graveside service will take place at Oaklawn Cemetery, 4801 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL, on May 15, 2021 at 11am. Donations in Steve’s memory can be made to Riverside Presbyterian Church.


15 May

Graveside Service

11:00 am

Oaklawn Cemetery



Steven Craig Estes

have a memory or condolence to add?

Pete Ortiz

May 13, 2021

Words still fail me for your loss. As a classmate and company mate, Bear was bigger than life, both physically and figuratively. I think what I’ll remember most is the little grin that he always had.. never knew what was going to happen next! Cathy and I have fond memories of times spent with him and your mother while going through flight training at Pensacola. He will be missed and remembered.

Jeff Estes

May 3, 2021

Steve was 14 months younger than me and we had a lot of really good times over the years. He was a champion wrestler in high school and went to state his senior year. Their football team was undefeated and this led to his getting into the Naval Academy to play football. Went to Army/Navy Navy/Airforce Navy/Notre Dame games to watch Steve play and got to hang around with the team – a lot of good times.
His wife, Jane, was Rear Admiral Max Morris’(Commandant of the Naval Academy) daughter. Not sure how he managed that. We had a great time at their wedding the day after his graduation from the Academy.
Steve didn’t just teach other pilots how to land on carriers. His last few years in the Navy were as a Top Gun instructor in Key West Florida. Went down to visit a few times and were allowed to go into the debriefing room with Steve after a training battle. Amazing stuff and so proud of Steve’s accomplishments.
So may remembrances going thru my head lately and plan to spend time with Stephanie and the rest of our family remembering Steve. Will miss him.

Deke Ahle

April 28, 2021

Steve, your presence in the wardroom shall be missed Classmate. May you Rest In Peace.
Semper Fi,


April 28, 2021

Steve was one of the "good ones". The best. He survived 4 years at USNA during the highest attrition rates in those times called the '70s. A true classmate. He rose to the highest recognition as a "shipmate", not just a '75 classmate. When the country was not interested in military service, Steve embraced it as a warrior-patriot, not an armchair-patriot. Those that survived '75 at USNA, others that knew him perhaps serving alongside Steve, but most of all his family are all lucky folks. He made his contribution to this world, and then some. He will be missed but because of Steve we are left to live in a better world. Eternal father......
Peter Squicciarini, '75 classmate


April 28, 2021

I was so sorry to hear of Steve's death. "BEAR" was a classmate, plebe year room mate, football teammate but most of all a dear friend. Lyn, BEAR and I shared the bad times and the good times throughout our years at USNA. His laugh, his smile and his never-ending playfulness are memories that shall always remind me of BEAR. I hope your memories of him will be some comfort to you.
I celebrate his life and the special days I was able to share it with him. Pleas accept my sincere condolences.

Susan Kelley

April 28, 2021

Stephanie, I am so sad that you have had to go through all this again. You have my heartfelt sympathies. Only remember the best! Susan

Keith Nostrant

April 28, 2021

My sincere condolences to family and friends. Rest In Peace Shipmate and Classmate.

Greer Puckett

April 27, 2021

Steve and his wonderful wife were good friends. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. He was a great guy and wonderful classmate to all members of the class of 1975. Rest in peace.

J Carman

April 27, 2021

Steve will be remembered as a good natured friend, Navy classmate and teammate. We will remember Bear as he was: quick to laugh and always willing to join in and help others. He's gone much too soon.

Tim Harden

April 27, 2021

Steve was an outstanding classmate and friend. I have many great memories of him through Football and the Naval Academy! He was a terrific teammate. My condolences to the family. All I can offer is remember the good times and laugh a lot at the humorous times. It will help ease the pain. All the best to you all!