Growing up on the farm, Steve worked long hours caring for the stock and tending the fields before and after school. He graduated from Brookport High School in 1940. His math ability earned him a county scholarship to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana, but his schooling was interrupted by World War II.
Steve volunteered to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After basic training in San Diego, Calif., he accepted appointment as a second lieutenant and completed officers training. His math skills again led him down the particular path of field artillery training.
Steve fought as a forward ground artillery observer in the South Pacific battles of Peleliu and Ngesebus with the First Marine Division in 1944 and then again in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service as an aerial artillery observer during the Battle of Okinawa. During the battle, he flew 56 flights in a small, unarmored plane often below altitudes of 500 feet “within the trajectory of friendly artillery fire and…repeated enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire.” His service in the war ended in Tientsin, China where his unit was assigned to disarm and repatriate Japanese forces in Northern China as the Chinese revolution boiled around them.
After the war, Steve returned to complete his engineering degree at the University of Illinois and marry his pre-war sweetheart, Vernice Marilyn Milleville of Champaign. She had worked for the Department of War in Washington, D.C. decoding enemy transmissions during the War.
Together, Steve and Vernice raised a family of four children, Julia, Mary, Sally and Joseph, all of whom are still alive today. During the first 20 years of their marriage, they moved frequently following Steve’s career opportunities first in engineering and later in business management. In 1968, they settled permanently in Plantation, Fla. where, over the years, Steve and Vernice gradually transitioned out of the corporate world and into managing their own commercial real estate holdings.
Having experienced the hard times of the Great Depression, both Vernice and Steve knew how to save money, but they were generous to family members and to many others in need.
They loved their four grandchildren, Jeffrey, Joseph, Craig and Stephanie, dearly, and they loved playing cards, beautiful roses and family holidays. They will be missed.
Vernice died in February 2010.
A memorial service for Steve, along with an inurnment ceremony for both Vernice and Steve, will be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on Feb. 3, 2014.
Memorials may be sent “In memory of Stephen Lynn” to: Illinois Promise Scholarship Fund, University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801.