The passing of a gentle giant: Lou Stephens
He wasn't the biggest in his family of four brothers, he was only six foot. But he had a firm handshake, a ready smile, a bear hug that left you counting your ribs, and a generous smile. On April 6, 2003, Lou Stephens passed as he lived: quietly.
Those of us who knew him in his early days remember his football days. He played offensive left guard in 1951 for the University of San Francisco Dons. He was a member of that team that went into legend, known as “the Dream Team.” It was an untied, undefeated, and uninvited team that turned down, to a man, a Bowl bid. They were asked to play without two of their players, Berle Toller and Ollie Matson, because they were black.
Lou’s career continued when he went on to play six years with the Washington Redskins, where he was All Pro Honorable Mention in 1955 and 1960. After retiring from the “Skins” he became an assistant coach for Notre Dame with Joe Kuharich and scouted for the Philadelphia Eagles.Whenever you asked Lou about those days he would say, "It was fun, but it’s in the past."
While living in Washington, D.C., he met and married Rosemary “Chick” Beers. She just happened to be from Albuquerque, New Mexico. They returned to the Land of Enchantment with their two daughters, moved to Placitas, and adopted two boys.
Those of us who knew him in Placitas—for he was a long-time resident—remember him as our friendly State Farm agent. He was always ready to help with our insurance questions, problems, and advice. He was active within the community with the youth of Placitas and Bernalillo. He was instrumental in opening up the small mission in the village. This little mission, San Antonio de Pauda, had not had a priest to say Mass in many years. Today, it is a viable, growing mission community with one expansion under its belt and another one in consideration. All because, this unassuming,gentle giant of a man was one who cared.
He was willing to open his house and swimming pool in the summer to the youth of Placitas, host a Fourth of July cook out for one and all, and play Santa for the children after the posadas.
Those of us who knew him in any of the phases of his life, or were on the receiving end of his handshake, the bear hug, the ready smile, and the “Good morning, welcome to the community” will miss him. Our lives are richer for having known him. God bless you, Lou.
Brittany Lakin, Miss Sandoval County
Ali Guidry, Miss Bernalillo County
Local women compete in Miss America preliminary
On March 22, Viva! New York, produced by Nicole Baker and Susan Yara, saluted two new titleholders for the Miss Bernalillo and Miss Sandoval County Scholarship competition. The background of a New York City skyline was enhanced by the flavor of New Mexico. Santa Ana Star Special Events Center hosted the event featuring a private dinner for family and guests before the program. A reception and salsa dance music provided by Micky Cruz and his Sismo Band closed the evening’s festivities.
This was the Third Annual Miss America Preliminary Scholarship Competition for the greater Albuquerque area. Each year, two competitions are held to award cash scholarships and provide the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss New Mexico.
The winners were Ali Guidry and Brittany Lakin. These young ladies won cash scholarships and gifts from various merchants in the area. Both attend the University of New Mexico. They will represent Bernalillo and Sandoval counties at state competition in June at Alamogordo, where Miss New Mexico 2004 will be crowned. Miss New Mexico will travel to Atlantic City, New Jersey, in September to compete for the coveted title of Miss America .
The Miss America Organization is a not-for-profit organization that empowers American women to achieve their goals. Based in Atlantic City, this system provides women with more scholarship opportunities than any other scholarship program worldwide. Contestants must be seventeen to twenty-four years of age.
The women compete in five phases of competition: Presentation and Community Achievement in Interview, 40 percent; Artistic Expression in Talent, 30 percent; Presence and Poise in Evening Wear, 10 percent; On Stage Knowledge and Awareness, 10 percent; and Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit, 10 percent.
Lakin and Guidry are goodwill ambassadors eager to serve their community. Organizations wishing to engage one of them as a speaker, should contact Pat Breese, executive director, at 867-5704.
Anyone interested in competition or volunteering with Miss Albuquerque Scholarship Organization should also contact the executive director.