Passed Away On: February 27, 2021

Ed passed away peacefully on February 27, 2021, at the age of 85. He is survived by his loving wife, Michele, his 3 children and 5 granddaughters.

Ed was born in Hollister, California to Madelyn McClintock Stephenson of Paicines, California and Thomas Matthew Stephenson of Hollister, California. Ed had one younger brother, James Robert Stephenson, whom he loved dearly and with whom he remained close even after Jim’s move to Australia in 1972 until Jim’s passing in 2015. Ed attended San Benito High School where, as a proud Baler, he played football, graduating in.1953. He attended Stanford University where he met Michele knew she was the “one”, marrying her in Santa Monica, Californa in 1959. After graduating from Stanford, Ed joined the Marine Corps, proudly serving his country for 2 years and, like most, remained a proud Marine the rest of his life – Semper Fi. Ed received his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley in 1965.

Ed pursued a career in banking, starting with Wells Fargo in San Francisco in 1965. Wells Fargo transferred him to Los Angeles in 1969, and he relocated the family from Mountain View to Long Beach and remained in Southern California where he and Michele raised their 3 children. Ed worked as a loan officer with Wells Fargo until he was recruited by the Bank of Newport in 1975 as a senior loan officer. The change saw Ed and family moving to Costa Mesa. In 1983 Ed was fortunate to be offered the position of Bank President for the newly formed San Benito Bank, which allowed Ed and Michele to relocate one last time to his childhood home of Hollister close to his aging parents and childhood friends. Ed remained with San Benito Bank through its successful merger with First National Bank of Central California (2000) and subsequent merger (2002) into Pacific Capital Bank, retiring in 2004. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Ed was very involved with professional affiliations in the banking industry, recognized as a leader and where he made lifelong friends.

Highlights include:

+ Chair, Independent Bankers

+ Chair, Western Independent Bankers

Ed was also very active in the community upon his return to Hollister.

Among his many volunteer hours and organizations, highlights include:

+ Chair, 33rd Agricultural District

+ President, Saddlehorse Show

+ President, Community Food Bank of San Benito County

+ President and Founding Chair, Community Foundation of San Benito County

+ Chair, Measure L Committee for Hazel Hawkins Hospital

+ Chair, San Benito Business Council + President, Rotary Club of San Benito County

For all his volunteerism, Ed was proud to be recognized as follows:

+ Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year -2008

+ Hazel Hawkins Hospital Donor of the Year – 2007

+ Community Foundation Philanthropist of the Year – 2006

Ed was a runner for much of his life and also loved the game of tennis. He was an avid bridge player, enjoying the competition and spending time with good friends. Travelling also became a favorite pastime. He and Michele were fortunate to do so whether with his banking affiliations, volunteer organizations or purely for pleasure with family and friends. Hawaii was a favorite destination serving as the halfway point to vacation with his brother Jim and wife Jan. While they were fortunate to travel to many different locations and experience various cultures, the destination at the top of the list was his annual family vacation at Lake Almanor, California where he was able to share 1-2 weeks with his kids and granddaughters- waterskiing and cribbage were the daily activities. Evenings regularly started with multiple games of cribbage and cocktails shared with family and friends and always big smiles and laughs as they recounted stories of the day and memories of prior vacations.

Ed is survived by his wife Michele (of 61 years), son Tom, daughter-in-law Kathy, their three daughters: Madelyn, Emma and Libby; daughter Ann and her two daughters Sophie and Olivia; and son Matt; as well as nephews Paul and John Stephenson and their families of Melbourne, Australia.

The family appreciates all the condolences and heart-felt notes and remembrances. There will be private services and the family will consider a celebration of life at some point in the future.

If you would like to give a donation in Ed Stephenson’s name, contributions to the Community Foundation for San Benito County
 or the Community Food Bank of San Benito County