Irvin Stevenson
Irvin Stevenson
Irvin Stevenson
Irvin Stevenson
Irvin Stevenson
Irvin Stevenson

Obituary of Irvin Eugene Stevenson

“Successful is the person who leaves the world better than they found it, who never fails to look for the best in others or gives the best of themselves.”

According to this definition, Irvin was very successful. He rarely met a person he didn’t like. And his big ol’ heart would overflow and touch someone wherever he went. He always thought the best of people. Irvin loved God, and it showed through his kind and generous heart. He loved his family to his inner core and would do anything for them. Irvin was a loyal friend and would also go out of his way to help strangers. He loved little kids; they would draw to him like a magnet. If he saw you having a long face, he would say, “What? Did someone steal the toy out of your ‘Happy Meal’?” His laugh was contagious, and he made friends quickly.

Irvin would go to a place of business and start joking around (even with the grumpiest person). The next thing you knew, everyone was laughing, and he came out with a free cup of coffee and a discount whenever he would go back in because they remembered him and how his kidding with them around turned their dreary day into sunshine!

Irvin Eugene Stevenson was born in rural Ellendale, Delaware, on January 12, 1953. Irvin was a husband, father, Pop Pop, coach, mentor, giver, hugger, and friend. He loved to laugh and joke around to get people to smile. Irvin Stevenson passed away of respiratory failure and end-stage Dementia at Lacey Post Acute and Rehabilitation Center and went home to be with the Lord on December 19, 2023.

One of 14 children, Irv worked with his dad and oldest brother, Charles, logging in the pulp tree forests to help support the family. He also worked on a neighbor's farm as a kid and learned many things, like working on motors, driving tractors, farm equipment, creativity, and fixing things. He got his pilot's license when he was older and learned to fly crop dusters over the fields. He loved flying. He dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot and flying powerful jets.

One day, young Irvin discovered he had another dream while in town. He did not grow up with television but caught his first glimpse of a football game on TV through a Woolworth's storefront window. It was then Irv decided somehow, some way, that's what he was going to do. Irv practiced by dashing and darting through the trees in the woods, pretending the trees were the opposing team players.

Irv was driven and motivated by never settling for being second best in anything he did: "I never do anything half-heartedly. I work on it full tilt. I never settle for second best in anything I do.”

He went to Cape Henlopen High in Lewes, Delaware, where he was part of a mile relay team that set a record at the Penn Relays. Cape Henlopen High is also where his football career started. Although Irv lived 18 miles from high school, neighbors and coaches would offer him a ride home after football practice. He never had to ask.

Irv played football during his freshman year for Delaware State and finished his career playing at Southwestern for three years in Winfield, Kansas. Irv was twice all-conference in football and track. He was also a standout in basketball. He studied Math and Biology.

In 1976, the New York Jets drafted Irv. His worst game was against the Buffalo Bills. They had a terrible field because it was like playing on concrete. The field was so bad that Irv ripped out five pairs of shoes during the game. He played with the NYJ for three years, then was traded to the Detroit Lions, and after their first minicamp, the Detroit Lions traded Irv to the Green Bay Packers. Irv finished his career in Green Bay in 1982. He retired from the NFL due to injuries and numerous surgeries on knees and shoulders.

After retiring from professional football, Irv worked for American Income Life as a Sales Manager in Columbus, Ohio (1982-1983); American Business Institute as a Director of Admissions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1983-1985); and Adelphia Business School as a Director in Philadelphia (1985-1987).

On March 21, 1987, in Philadelphia, Irvin Stevenson and Charlene Allen were married.

Irv went into the trucking industry in 1987 in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, and ended his trucking career in 2008 in Olympia, Washington. He worked in the trucking industry for about 21 years. Sometimes, he worked for others, but most of the time, he owned his own trucking company and was owner/operator/mechanic/load coordinator.

Irv and his family moved to Shelton, Washington, in 1996 while he was still in the trucking industry. Irv missed the NFL competition and turned to another talent. In 1996, he started coaching at Shelton High School.

From 1996 to 2022, Coach Stevenson shared his coaching talent in different Washington state schools and settings throughout the area, starting at Shelton High School in Shelton, followed by River Ridge High School in Lacey, Mt. Tahoma in Tacoma,  Al Davies Boys and Girls Club in Tacoma (undefeated for two years), Olympia Boys and Girls Club Titan Youth Football in Olympia, Mary M. Knight in Elma, Olympia High School in Olympia (2009 South SPSL League Champion), Capital High School in Olympia (2010 and 2011 3A Narrows League Champion 2010 and 2011 3A State Semi-Finals, 2012 2A State Semi Final), Decatur High School in Federal Way,  Lakota Middle School in Federal Way, Mossyrock High School in Mossyrock, Renton High School in Renton, and Oakville High School in Oakville.

Irvin also volunteered for several years, coaching in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). This non-profit organization allows kids and teens to compete against the best athletes nationwide. While Irv was coaching in 2017, the boys’ basketball team played in a National Tournament and Ranked #2 in the Nation!

He enjoyed coaching boys' football and mentoring high school boys. He also enjoyed coaching high school girls' basketball. He coached coaches and many young people. He had a passion for football and basketball and had a talent and intuitiveness for coaching. It was the playing field or court that became his outlet for competition. He always tried to "outcoach" the coach across the field or court. He would pull out wins with "young men that needed football more than football needed them." He was strict on discipline and respect on and off the field. Grades in school were always the most important. Irv used the sports of football and basketball to push young athletes to get scholarships for college to get the opportunity to further their education and sports careers. College might not otherwise have been a possibility for them.

From 2000 to 2015, Irv was a substitute paraeducator for Olympia, North Thurston, Yelm, Tumwater, and Federal Way School Districts.

On October 9, 2010, Irvin married Ruth (Lord) Wilson in Olympia, Washington.

Irv's favorite thing to do was be with his precious family. He also loved to take trips to the ocean.

Irvin loved to cook and enjoyed cooking for friends and family. One Thanksgiving, Irv prepared turkey to be traditional, ham for one daughter, salmon for his son and other daughter, and all the trimmings!! He cooked for days wholeheartedly. Bless him! Irv contributed many of his learned cooking skills to his sisters.

Irv had a draw to anything big and powerful. He loved the powerful diesel engine of a "big truck." He loved to go and watch the locomotives at the train station with his grandson. His summer would only be complete with several trips to the drag races, sprint car races, or an airshow with family.

Irv also enjoyed listening to music, fixing cars, and vegetable gardening.

His favorite TV shows were Matlock, Perry Mason, Andy Griffith, Hogan's Heroes, Gunsmoke, and Nash Bridges. Turn on the Three Stooges or Bugs Bunny and Friends to get him laughing.

Irv will be remembered for always saying, "If your heart's not in it, don't do it for me!”

Irvin will be deeply missed by his wife, Ruth Stevenson; his three children, Paige Rogers, Amande Stevenson, and Tevyn Stevenson; and two grandsons, Marquest Rogers and Reyan Rogers; and by his siblings Shirley Johnson, Charles Stevenson, Barbara Ash, Gloria Stevenson, Linda Stevenson, David Stevenson, Dorothy Pitts, Kemphus Stevenson, Ventres Stevenson. He is also survived by his ex-wife, Charlene Allen. He is predeceased by his parents, Charles and Allene Stevenson, and siblings, Delores Young, Larry Stevenson, Kevin Stevenson, and Keith Stevenson.

“Thank you to all our family, friends, co-workers, doctors, and caregivers whose hearts were there for us. Words cannot express my deep gratitude for all the love, prayers, encouragement, hugs, acts of kindness, help, and support through this journey. Though we will miss him here, he is in our hearts. May we take comfort knowing Irv is pain-free and in the loving presence of our Heavenly Father.” --Ruth

1 Peter 5:10
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

INSTEAD OF FLOWERS, please donate to the following long-lasting, life-changing cause for many young athletes. Irv invested many years coaching and mentoring young athletes. Contributing to Federal Way Warriors is a way to honor Irv. In 2017, the coaches (including Irv) took a group of young men to tournaments back east and won 2nd in the nation! AAU is an excellent way for kids to get their talents developed, exposed, and receive scholarships to further their education and play at a higher level! Please add a note with your donation “Remembering Coach Stevenson.” For more information, visit:


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