“Dying is easy,” someone once said, “the least of us will manage that. Living well…that’s the trick.”
Our son, Steven, lived well.
Steven Kee Mandeville was born on Feb. 23, 1992 in Pusan, South Korea. On June 10, 1992 he arrived into the waiting arms of family Jim and Paula Mandeville, and big brother Ben.
Steven attended elementary, junior high and high school in Columbus, Mont., and went to Montana Tech in Butte where in December 2014 he received his degree in petroleum engineering. During these years he was especially active in music and sports. Steven was selected for the Tri County Honor Band his sophomore, junior and senior years and also participated in the jazz band.
Athletically, Steven, enjoyed most every sport but his loves were baseball, football and later rugby. Steven was an outstanding pitcher and was part of the 2007 Senior Little League State Championship team that represented Montana in the U.S. Regional tournament in Salem, Ore.
Steven loved football most of all. As a three-year starter as defensive lineman Steven was a tough, powerful and tenacious competitor. Steven was a Columbus Cougar through and through whether actually on the field of play or in the stands supporting his team and classmates.
Steven touched the world by his desire to invest into people. He loved people — old, young, rich, poor…it didn’t matter…he would invest himself into them with his quick smile, compassionate heart, and quirky sense of humor.
Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ through International Missions was his passion. Steven had a heart for China and went there four times. While there he met and fell in love with a lovely young lady named Cao, Yi (Ellen). They were engaged in December 2013. For the next year, each returned to their own colleges and completed their degrees. On Jan. 18, 2015 they were married in Nan Chang, China. Following a 9-day trip exploring the sights of this amazing country (with 11 of their closest friends) they came to the United States where they were ready to begin their life together.
Unfortunately the “….and they lived happily ever after...” wasn’t part of their story. Steven was diagnosed with terminal advanced stage liver cancer on the 28th of February.
For the next 2 ½ months Steven taught us an important life lesson: How to die well. Even though his pain was relentless we never once heard him complain. He continued to look upward and grow more in love with Jesus. He continued to invest wisely into his friends and family. He never feared death. His only regret was leaving his beloved Ellen behind. And at 4:20 on a dreary Saturday morning Steven, surrounded by family, took his final breath and ran into the arms of Jesus.
Steven is survived by his wife, Ellen and her family: Xiaohua Yi, Shimiao Cao, Xin Cao Steven’s parents: Jim and Paula; brother Ben; Grandma Greta Jensen and his wonderful uncles, aunts, and cousins. Preceding him were grandparents Chuck and Helen Mandeville and Warren Jensen.
Funeral services will be held at Columbus Evangelical Church on Saturday, May 23 at 10 a.m. If you so desire, memorials may be given to Rocky Mountain Hospice; the Steven Mandeville Missions Scholarship Fund; Granite Peak Baseball Association, or a charity of your choice.