H. Carl Stephen, 83, a builder who gave of his time and skills

July 29, 1996|By S. Mitra Kalita | S. Mitra Kalita,SUN STAFF

As a boy in Garrett County, H. Carl Stephen often helped with local barn-raisings. After leaving the county in 1939, Mr. Stephen constructed a career around his childhood pastime.

The longtime Harford County builder often organized volunteers and supplies to build structures for those in need. He died Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center of complications from a neurological disorder. He was 83.

In 1980 Mr. Stephen gathered a crew of 400 volunteers to rebuild the Susquehannock Environmental Center, a nonprofit recycling center in Bel Air that had been destroyed by fire.

"From plumbers to landscapers to roofers," remembered Bob Chance, founder and past president of the center. "When Carl got involved in a project, everyone wanted a piece of it."

With help from the Harford County Homebuilders Association, Mr. Stephen in 1989 organized the construction of Jamboree House for delinquent juveniles in Fallston. The house was completed in 57 hours with donated materials and volunteer labor.

Born in Accident in 1913, Mr. Stephen moved to Dundalk in 1939 and worked at the Glenn L. Martin Co. aircraft plant in Middle River.

He and his wife, the former Mary Metzler, moved to their Bel Air farmhouse in 1958. They were married in 1939.

In his spare time between shifts as an aircraft fabricator at Glenn L. Martin, Mr. Stephen built houses in Rosedale. He then founded his company, H. Carl Stephen Inc., in 1958 and began building houses in the Greenridge development near Bel Air.

In a 1990 Sun article, a competitor, Clark Turner of Clark Turner Homes in Bel Air, described Mr. Stephen as "the granddaddy of homebuilding in Harford County."

Mr. Stephen's Bel Air-based company -- now called Stephen Homes and operated by his sons -- has erected more than 2,000 houses in Harford County, the family said.

Mr. Stephen was active in politics and raised money for several Republican candidates. He also was a volunteer in the Harford Soil Conservation District.

Services were held Saturday at Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren in Glenarm. Mr. Stephen built the church in a volunteer effort in 1962.

A member of the church for 38 years, Mr. Stephen more recently built its fellowship hall. He also was a deacon and board member and taught Sunday school at the church.

In addition to his wife, survivors include three sons, Dale T. Stephen of Bel Air, Donald R. Stephen of Churchville and Harry C. Stephen Jr. of Baldwin; three sisters, June Beachey and Margaret Knox, both of Grantsville, and Grace Trost of Cumberland; and five grandchildren.

Pub Date: 7/29/96

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