Obituary: Stephen E. Heppell

June 4, 1942 ~ May 4, 2024
Stephen E. Heppell
June 4, 1942 ~ May 4, 2024
Posted at 10:23 AM, May 17, 2024

Retired US Air Force Colonel, Stephen E. Heppell, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 04, 2024, in Great Falls, MT. Steve was born in Seattle, WA on June 4, 1942, to Dorothy (Rooney) & Earl Heppell. Steve attended Washington State University where he earned a BS in Police Science in 1964, followed by a Masters in Police Administration at Michigan State University in 1967.

Steve and Janet Sutherland, that he met at WSU on her 2nd day on campus, were married one week after he graduated. They entered the USAF to fulfill his 4-year ROTC obligation which stretched into a distinguished 30-year career served mostly in the Security Police except for 3 years as Base Commander at Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, MT. Family in tow, Steve & Jan served the country with assignments across the US, as well as 4 years in Germany.

The final 7 years of his career were spent at Offutt AFB, as SAC, then STRATCOM Inspector General. After 2 below-the-zone promotions as well as many honors & awards, including the Bronze Star Medal & several Meritorious Service medals, Steve retired as a full colonel in 1994.

Upon retirement, Steve & Jan moved to their cabin in Neihart, MT, where he was quickly elected the volunteer fire chief, a role he continued for 14 years. After six years in Neihart, Steve & Jan moved to an acreage outside of Monarch, MT, to realize Jan’s dream of having horses. Riding Tennessee Walkers in the Little Belt Mountains became their dream dates.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years and 21 homes, Janet; 3 children; son, Stephen Ray of Sherman Oaks, CA, daughters, Kelli (Corey)Bungay of Ocoee, FL & Sara (Tom) Barker of Great Falls, MT; as well as their six grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters; Charlene Denzel, Kathleen Heppell & Helen (Ron) Miller.

To read the complete obituary and share condolences, click here to visit the Croxford Funeral Home website.