William Stephen “Steve” Cowdrey

William Stephen “Steve” Cowdrey

June 12, 1940 - July 01, 2022

William Stephen “Steve” Cowdrey

June 12, 1940 - July 01, 2022


We have planned a special reception following Steve’s memorial. Please be sure to look at the instructions in the last paragraph of this page. 


William Stephen Cowdrey

William Stephen Cowdrey, “Steve”, passed from this world to be with God on July 1, 2022.  He has resided in Laguna Niguel with his wife, Jerry, for the last 46 years of his life.  He is survived by her, his son, Darren, and his daughter, Jacqui.  Steve loved life!  He enjoyed its celebrations and also appreciated being able to struggle with its challenges.  He will be missed dearly.

Steve was born on June 12, 1940 to Roy and Ruth Cowdrey in the San Fernando Valley.  He was the first of three children, having a brother, John, and a sister, Karen.  Their beginnings were humble and he was proud of the lives that each of them were able to create.  He went to Birmingham High School and, even in retirement, would follow the football team as they have ridden the roller coaster that is high school sports.  He also attended Pierce College getting his BA in physical education and recreation.

The family attended Sepulveda United Methodist Church and were very active members there; singing in the choirs and attending summer camps.  It was there that he met his future wife, Jerry, a daughter of the choir director.  The Kryders were also a very significant family in that community.  Their romance as the young youth director and choir director’s daughter was a charming part of the life of that church.  In 1963 they would marry and head to Chicago where Steve had been accepted to Garrett Theological Seminary to earn his Master’s of Divinity.  They braved a few cold winters there and then headed back in January of 1967 with most of what they owned in a single car to start their lives together.

As an associate pastor with youth and young adult ministry, Steve served at Fullerton United Methodist Church for a few years.  It was there that their son, Darren, was born.  Eventually Steve started to feel a pull to public school teaching.  He would become a teacher at Parks Junior High School, teaching most every subject at some point, serving over 35 years.  Steve and Jerry settled in Fountain Valley before Laguna Niguel, where their daughter, Jacqui, was born.  Steve kept a local pastor license with the United Methodist Church and served in three different churches in Christian education, Community UMC in Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills UMC, and St Andrew’s UMC.

Steve loved an underdog, embracing all the teams with the lower profile in town: The Angels, the Chargers, and the Clippers.  Each of those teams lost a very committed follower in Steve.  This heart for the underdog drove his life’s passions as well.  He often called himself a “communitarian”, seeing humanity as a collective that needed to work together for the good for everyone.  As he experienced the news of the day he was always looking for how we might make things work for the benefit of all God’s children.

Steve lived his life for others and this was seen expressly in his treatment of his family.  It was especially true for his grandchildren, whom he guided his life to be able to support; both financially and emotionally.  He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, and human being who was a blessing to many.

A Memorial service is scheduled for August 6, 4pm, at St Andrew’s by the Sea United Methodist Church.  You’re invited to dress casually as there will be a reception and concert to follow in the outdoor amphitheater that displays a plaque honoring Steve’s ministry there. Feel free to wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt.  In his spirit, there will be chili, guacamole, chips, and chocolaty chocolate chip cookies.

Memorial Service

  • Date & Time: August 06, 2022 (4:00 PM)
  • Venue: St. Andrew's By The Sea
  • Location: 2001 Calle Frontera San Clemente, CA 92673 - (Get Directions)

Lazy W Ranch Campground

  • Website: https://www.lazywranch.org/donate
  • Description: In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to Lazy W Ranch Campground in San Juan Capistrano. There's a bridge that Steve worked on over 60 years ago is now in need of an upgrade!

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4 responses to William Stephen “Steve” Cowdrey

  1. Sharin says:

    Memories of a good friend through the years of High School. So glad we got to reconnect with you through a reunion and then social media to see your antics with family and friends. You will be surely missed. See you at another reunion!
    Sharin Smith
    Horseshoe Bay, TX

  2. Diana Dessery Hensley says:

    My deepest condolences to Steve’s lovely family. He was a very good man and his family is one of his legacies. ❤️🌹

  3. Peggy Reardon says:

    I was Steve’s helper when he had a Sunday School class at the Methodist Church in Westminster. He was a wonderful teacher and I learned a lot as his helper. He also treated the children to milk and his homemade cookies. Many fond memories of those fun times.
    He will be greatly missed by all. Peggy Reardon

  4. Steve was a young minister at the United Methodist Church in Huntington Beach, CA, where I grew up in the 60’s and went to church with my family every Sunday. I was a shy little girl and remember how kind he was and him calling children to come and sit on the stairs close to the altar during a service . I think it was a Christmas service because I was usually in Sunday school. When it was my time to get married, I thought of Steve to conduct the marriage between me and my fiancé, Neal Ng. Neal is also resting with our Lord). We had a blessed marriage of almost 26 years and we both believe in our Lord. Steve was now the minister at the Methodist church in San Clemente but agreed to marry us at the HB church. It was an honor! He met my husband and I for counseling and we even ate at a favorite restaurant in Laguna Niguel. Manny’s!

    My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and everyone who was lucky to know this wonderful man!
    As difficult as losing someone here is, at least we know where he is and he’s in the best hands!! 🙏🏻

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