Stephen Hollis quietly passed through the veil on Friday, March 18, 2022. A catalyst for creating a close knit family, Stephen Hollis is a rare and precious soul. No person who knew Stephen came away unchanged.
He entered life in Evanston, Wyoming on January 19th, 1963, with a bang during a snowstorm. His father (Al Hollis) drove through the blinding snow with his wife Kathy in labor in the passenger seat of a Volkswagen Bug. Both were relieved to make it to the hospital in time for the delivery.
As the first child in the family, Stephen seemed to already know Kristi (whom he called "Isti, Isti") and all of the rest of his siblings (Almy, Lisa, and Randy) as they arrived. He loved them with an unconditional and pure love. Later in life when they visited him, they were always greeted with an exclamation of joy and a big hug. No one could deny the childlike love he displayed for others.
Named for the disciple in the New Testament who saw Christ, the veil was also very thin for Stephen. He seemed to see and speak with others who were unseen to us. His pure faith and uncompromising desire to serve his Father in Heaven was evident throughout his life. He always wanted to hold the Priesthood, serve a mission, and marry in the temple. He finally obtained his beloved name tag and served as a missionary by faithfully and uncomplainingly helping to put up and take down chairs in the ward building for two years. Stephen would spend hours 'reading' the Book of Mormon and took opportunities to 'bless' others who helped him or seemed to need additional blessings.
Al and Kathy raised Stephen at home with the family and that made all of the difference for him and the rest of the children. He attended school at the Dan Peterson school and graduated. Stephen changed the paradigm of the family in a positive way, creating a cohesion that was further fostered by his parents. Stephen grew up with his brothers and sisters camping, hiking, fishing, and traveling the world in their tent trailer. He was just like the rest of his siblings and was treated no differently. As a result, he believed that he could do whatever stubbornly entered his mind to do. Because of Special Olympics and RAH, Stephen became involved in sports and soon discovered that he had talent as an athlete. He raced foot races and won. He bowled and won. He swam and won. Most notably, he tried gymnastics and began to excel, as evidenced by his many medals. Mom and Dad gave him every possible opportunity to train with professionals and in 1982 he represented the United States in the International Special Olympics in Men's Gymnastics. One of his major sponsors was a biker gang who absolutely adored and revered him. Not surprisingly, he won the gold medal in two disciplines. His infectious exultations were captured on film and the picture taken of him when he realized that he had won gold became the cover picture for the International Special Olympics that year. He 'hammed it up' when he returned home, flexing his biceps and giving the local KUTV cameras a truly delightful color story for the evening news.
Stephen continued to train at home by lifting weights and loved challenging others to arm wrestles. He cheered for his beloved Cougars, watched eagerly when they played football and mourned when they lost. Watching Karl Malone play in the Jazz basketball games was a must and he was a dedicated fan. But not one to play all day, one of his true passions was work. He held several jobs bussing tables at Hardees, washing and clearing dishes at UVU, folding towels at a cleaning facility, and other miscellaneous jobs. We siblings believe that he liked the UVU job the best because of all of the cute girls who paid attention to him. Later in life when he was too stubborn to cooperate with his caregivers, a cute girl could easily coax him into compliance.
Stephen had great wit and his laughter was delightful. He loved private jokes and remembered them forever. He teased his Grandma Huntsman about her 'purple purse' and loved playing thumb wars with his brother Almy. He couldn't wait for 'punkin pie' and Halloween. Mom had to absolutely forbid Stephen from talking about Halloween until October or it would never end. He loved setting up the decorations and scaring the nieces and nephews when they came to trick or treat. He and Dad also had a running joke that Dad was going to shoot the reindeer on Christmas Eve, but Stephen 'foiled' Dad's plans every year.
Kristi's husband Kelly beautifully captured what we feel in this beautiful way, "The repercussive blessings of Stephen's selfless service extend down to (all of us who knew him), and we all have cause to praise him for his love for us. In the pattern of the great Elder Brother, the Eldest Brother of the Hollis family truly gave his life for us. Greater love hath no man than this." When he finally passed through the veil to meet his father, mother and the Savior, we are certain that Heaven's joy was glorious in finally welcoming one of her finest and greatest souls back home.
A graveside service will be held on March 23rd, 2022 at 11:00 am in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery and all who wish to honor him are welcome. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Special Olympics, TURN, or RAH (Recreation for the Adult Handicapped). We also wish to give our utmost and deepest thanks to those friends and staff at TURN who became like family to him when he decided to become 'independent'. We love you for all you have done for him and owe you so much! Please know that Stephen loves you also.