For more than 60 years, Howie Stevenson ’50 has ministered through music, often in partnership with his wife, Marilyn Danielson Stevenson ’53. At college events, in churches and during summer conferences they’ve shared their musical gifts with skill and joy. Years later, many alumni vividly remember Howie’s energetic hymn sings in chapel. As a student, Howie performed with the Westmont Quartet in a different church every Sunday and toured during the summer. In 1950, the group went to Europe with Ruth Kerr, Westmont’s principal founder. “My experience with the quartet taught me to think on my feet, speak in public and meet new people,” he says. “I’ve spent my life working in front of the public, and my years at Westmont prepared me well. What I learned musically from John Lundberg I could never get from a book. What a blessing and gift Westmont has been.”
Howie received a master’s degree in music at the University of Washington and joined the music faculty at Multnomah Bible College in Oregon. In 1963, Lundberg recruited him to teach at Westmont, which he did for 18 years, earning a doctorate at USC. Howie ended his career as a music minister at First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, Calif., with Chuck Swindoll. When he retired in 2003, the Stevensons returned to their Santa Barbara home.
They sold this house in 2007 and moved to Mount Miguel Covenant Village in Spring Valley, Calif., where their daughter Beth Gwinn ’81 works. Her husband, Casey, has been the city attorney for San Diego. Bruce ’77 and Lisa Johnson ’76 Stevenson went to Westmont and live in Dallas where he’s a high school choral director. Suzanne Stevenson married alumnus Gary Preston ’74, a pastor in Boulder, Colo. Howie and Marilyn have eight grandchildren (one graduated from Westmont and another is a senior) and two great-grandchildren.
With the proceeds from their home, the Stevensons funded a charitable remainder trust that gives them secure income for life and will benefit Westmont and other organizations when they’re gone. “The financial advantages are significant,” Howie says. “The trust solved our tax problems and allows us to give back to Christian ministries that have influenced our lives.”