Joseph B. Stevens Jr., head of concessions firm

November 21, 2008|By FREDERICK N. RASMUSSEN

Joseph B. Stevens Jr., former president and chairman of Harry M. Stevens Inc., the oldest concessions business in America, died Nov. 13 of bone cancer at Heron Point retirement community in Chestertown. He was 92.

Mr. Stevens was born in Cleveland and raised there and in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was a 1934 graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1938.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served in aviation during World War II. He was discharged with the rank of lieutenant in 1946.

In 1938, Mr. Stevens began his business career with the company that had been founded in 1889 by his grandfather, Harry M. Stevens, who also printed and sold the first baseball score card in Columbus, Ohio, in 1887.

"His first day on the job was at the Timonium Fairgrounds," said his son, Joseph "Jobe" Stevens of Shelbyville, Ky.

"As a concessionaire at baseball parks, racetracks, arenas and stadiums, he worked in all areas of the business, from selling peanuts at Yankee Stadium to washing dishes at the Preakness," he said.

In 1965, Mr. Stevens was appointed president of the company and chairman in 1982. He retired in 1991.

A longtime resident of Princeton, N.J., Mr. Stevens moved to Chestertown in 1991. He was a past president of the Heron Point retirement community and had been a member of the board of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels.

Mr. Stevens also enjoyed spending time hiking and canoeing in the Adirondacks of New York State.

His wife of 67 years, the former Frances Elizabeth Pine, died last year.

Mr. Stevens was a member of the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown, 905 Gateway Drive, where a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 13.

Also surviving are two daughters, Brooke Stevens of Cambridge, Mass., and Sarah Webb of Alstead, N.H.; and five grandchildren.

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