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Stephen Condie Earl

10/08/1948 - 09/16/2020

With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Stephen Earl who completed his earthly mission on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at the age of 71. Having endured the trials of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) for most of his life with strength and resilience, he was successfully recovering from a hip fracture through physical therapy over the summer.  All of us, including Stephen, were optimistic he would reach full recovery, but during a routine kidney dialysis treatment on Tuesday night he suffered an unforeseen complication. Fortunately, the Lord gave us enough time for his children and dear wife to gather by his bedside to say our final goodbyes. He then peacefully slipped away to be greeted by his parents, Rulon and Esther, and two of his siblings, Miriam (Allen) Tobler, and Allan (Denise), who preceded him in death.  He is survived by his wife, JaNae, his children and their spouses, Julie (Daniel) Earley, Cameron, McKay (Summer), Kimball (Genny), Taylor (Laura), his brother Robert (Karma), step-brother Bruce (Bonnie) Lemon, and his 19 grandchildren.

Stephen Condie Earl was born on October 8, 1948 in Las Vegas, NV.  As the youngest child, he often quipped how he survived much physical torment and teasing from his older brothers, who would later become loyal and cherished friends. One of the most difficult trials of his childhood was watching his mother struggle with and eventually die of PKD when he was only 14 years old.

He graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1967.  Because of his diligence in academics, during his senior year he was chosen to attend Boys State, and from there, Boys Nation in Washington D.C.  He loved to play baseball, participate in speech and debate, play the trumpet and was an Eagle Scout.

After high school graduation, he chose to serve two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in West Germany from 1967-1969.  Learning German was difficult for him, but consistent with his character he put in the extra effort to not only become fluent, but to pass as a native German.

He attended Brigham Young University on an academic scholarship, graduating 1973 with a BA in Political Science.  While at BYU he saw his future wife, JaNae Hansen, speak in church and was so impressed that he pulled a few strings so that both of them could chair a committee together. They married a few months later in 1972.  A baby girl, Julie Michelle, joined them the next year as they struggled through school.  She was soon followed by four sons: Cameron, McKay, Kimball and Taylor.

Steve had always planned on practicing law in his father’s and uncle’s firm, Earl & Earl, in Las Vegas.  With this in mind, after graduation from BYU he applied to several top tier law schools, but Rex Lee, Dean of the newly founded BYU law school approached him to ask if he would be willing to be a member of the charter class.  He often marveled at how Rex convinced so many students with Top 10 ambitions to join the new law school.  Known for his work ethic in particular, Steve graduated near the top of his class and was loyal to the law school for the rest of his life as exemplified in his tireless service to the J. Ruben Clark Law Society in leadership roles and raising money for scholarships and professorships.

After graduation in 1976, he made the difficult decision to not return and practice law with his father in Las Vegas but had a strong impression that he should raise his family in Arizona. He began practicing law at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix where he was mentored by excellent attorneys and learned to specialize in zoning law.  This began a long and fulfilling legal career in land use and development.

There came a point when Steve and his good friend Daryl Williams felt they could fulfill a dream of opening a law firm together.  With Earnie Baird, they began Earl, Baird and Williams.  As much as Steve enjoyed working with close friends, he wondered if it would be possible to open a law firm dedicated to zoning.  Mike Curley had followed Steve from JJ&S to EB&W so the two of them, along with Lynne Lagarde, then formed Earl, Curley & Lagarde and went on to practice many years together before Lynne’s retirement in 2013 and Mike’s sudden passing in 2015. In 2013 Stephen and Mike pulled Stephen’s son, Taylor, away from a budding career in litigation to join the firm. Stephen and Taylor enjoyed several years of practicing together as father and son, with Taylor eventually becoming his law partner. Stephen’s entire career was a deep source of pride and joy for him.

Most important to Steve was his testimony of and relationship with Jesus Christ.  A life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he volunteered his time serving in many church callings — teaching Sunday School, working with the youth, leadership positions in bishoprics and stake presidencies — and he loved the many friendships he made while ministering to others.  Most recently, serving in the temple on Saturday afternoons was the highlight of his week.

Steve struggled with health challenges from an early age and was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) while in college.  Consequently he experienced several close calls with death over the years, but he always recovered beyond his doctors’ expectations.  He ascribed this to the miracles of God working in his life.

We have all been inspired and blessed by Steve’s life.  We would like to collect favorite memories from his friends and associates of any kind.  These will be compiled into a collection to be shared not just with posterity, but also with friends.   All memories are welcome, whether professional, funny, sad, spiritual, something learned — anything.  Please leave them below.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 25, 2020 at 11:00AM.  Extended family, friends and associates are invited to attend virtually at this link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GoEjPuBDROuRGdiZA67qyA. Registration is required and can be completed anytime beforehand.  A slideshow of Steve’s life will play at the above link preceding the services beginning at 10:30AM.

In lieu of flowers, any desired donations can be directed to the following sites:

PKD Foundation

LDS Humanitarian Fund

BYU Law School Scholarship Fund

Condolences

  • When the Earls moved into my ward in Gilbert, I was already friends with their son Cam. Cam introduced me to his dad their first day. A few weeks go by and Stephen was called to be Gospel Doctrine instructor. (The best I’ve ever had btw. Always prepared. Always interesting. Always correct.). A few weeks later, during class, he called on me by name and I was surprised he remembers my name in the see of faces. Then, I noticed he was calling everyone by their name. First name, last name… he knew nearly everyone’s name in a class of at least fifty people after only being in our ward for a few weeks. After that day I talked with him and told him I was so impressed. I had been in this ward for years and still was behind him on recalling everyone’s names. (700+ people on our rolls). He smiles and winked and asked me if I wanted to know how and why. I very much wanted to know. He pulled out from his inside pocket of his coat a stack of 3×5 cards with names of families in the ward. He told me he is still learning but that he quizzes himself while he sits in church, linking names to faces as well as he can. He told me the best way to make someone feel welcome in church was to know their name and use it. It affected me profoundly and since then I have tried to use this in my life. We will mis Stephen’s positive attitude and his diligence to do good. His family is a testimony to his life and I am proud to have been on his 3×5 cards, even for a short while.

  • Brother Earl spoke at a session of Stake Conference a few years ago. I remember his talk very well as it touched my life in a unique way. He was speaking about drawing close to The Lord through regular scripture study. He likened the need to read the scriptures daily to the need he had to take his medication each day. He mentioned that, because of a transplant he had, he needed to take his medication each day at certain times, and that if he didn’t, he’d suffer complications that could ultimately end his life. He said that he viewed his daily scripture study in the same way.

    What a good and spiritual man he was and still is. My deepest condolences to all of his family.

  • Paulette (Reed) Langwith

    I was reflecting just today… on the bosses that have loved me! I know that can sound incredibly awkward for an employee to say – but God knew I needed you and your family. I was given an opportunity to work for you in 1996 – I was defeated, broken and felt worthless – and that was just my personal life. You and your family poured in to me! I loved our family dinners (thank you JaNae), writing letters while the boys were on Mission, working with Cameron, McCupcake and Taylor – not to mention meeting your most gorgeous daughter. Please know – Mr. Earl you will always make my heart smile. I have missed you from the day I took another role but yet you were always just one phone call away.

  • Being in Brother Earl’s presence was always calming. Peaceful. Uplifting and inspiring. He was easy to be around and didn’t try to present a front – he was who he was. I admire that – especially in this world so full of confusion.

    My favorite memory of him is really better told by Kimball. But I will try – Kimball, feel free to add, correct and put your amazing story-telling spin on it.

    Somewhere in the wee hours of the night one weekend back in the ‘90’s Bro Earl woke up in a panic because Kimball hadn’t checked in for the night yet. Where was he?? That darn Brittany Lueck’s house. He woke up Sister Earl and confirmed that he hadn’t returned home. So, he called the car phone (who here wasn’t in awe of that piece of technology?!) but Kimball didn’t answer. So, as any good father would do – he drove out in search of his son. He pulled up to my house only to find it dark. Quiet. A house asleep. He went back home, into Kimball’s room. There he was! He found him sleeping in his bed. He woke him up and asked where he had been. Poor Kimball! He reminded his dad that he ate dinner with them and went to bed early. So…. evidently he had a nightmare about his sweet boy out with the likes of a Lueck. I laugh every time I think of it.

    Earl family. You are loved and supported by many during this time. The Luecks included. We surround you with love and reassurance and will as long as you need it. Take heart. Lean on others in your grief.

    My love to you all – Brittany

  • In the two short years that I worked for him – I knew and grew to love him like my own father. He hired me on the spot and I was terrified of him. I was told that my secretarial seat was a “hot”rotating seat and he was tough and demanding – we grew close quickly and I loved working for him. As part of my job description, I was to make sure he ate because he worked so hard that he would forget to take care of himself. He had an amazing sense of humor behind all of his seriousness. A memorable joke was when I told him he reminded me of the demanding boss on the movie Devil Wears Prada and he came in the next morning and he told me that “a lot of people would kill to have this job” and then he threw his coat and brief case on my desk and told me to bring him some coffee – he didn’t even drink coffee! I laughed so hard! He was kind and caring and you felt it working for him. He touched my heart as no other boss ever did or probably ever will. I am thankful I have those memories. A truly wonderful man! He will be missed but never forgotten. Rest in Peace Steve. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

  • Kathe Harris Cecil

    Steve was another older brother to me growing up in Las Vegas. He lived around the block from our family and spent a lot of time at our house with my brother, Richard. Rulon and Esther were good friends with my parents also. Nice memories in early Las Vegas.

  • I believe I remember your dad as my Elders Quorum president back in 1975 in Tempe 1st Ward. I was just getting back into church activity and was called with my good friend, also from the ward, to serve a mission in Bogota, Colombia. He was a young strong leader who set a great example to all he knew. So sorry for your early loss.

  • Stephen and Donna Myers

    Donna and I had the privilege of being in the Tempe 11th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for many years with the Earl Family. What a great family!! Super people to associate with. I remember the pink house across from the ballfield. It is still pink and for me it will always be the “Earl” house even though you have long since left Tempe. I had the privilege of serving in the Stake Presidency with Stephen back in the 1980″s. We were counselors to our Stake President, Kent Christiansen. What a glorious experience!! We were a good team and worked together well. Stephen always had good counsel based on gospel principles and he had a deep devotion to the Lord’s work. He never complained about his kidney disease which could have been discouraging for him but we who worked with him would never know it. I remember the great miracle of how long his last kidney transplant lasted. As I remember, he received it shortly after we were released from the Presidency and it has lasted all these years. Our daughter remembers his smile. She said that when some people smile, their whole face shows it and his smile was like that. Life has it challenges and Stephen dealt with his so well. A great example to us all. He has touched the lives of many of us and we have sweet memories of our time associating with the Earl Family. May Heavenly Father bless you abundantly during this special time.

  • Judy McCall knoles

    I lived in the same Las Vegas 6th ward around the corner from the earls !! I remember Steve as a young boy – always smiling but I mostly remember his angel mother , Esther . She mentored me in so many music areas and I still remember and cherish the hymn book she gave me. She helped me learn to direct music and feel the spirit through music!!!!

  • I grew up with Steve in the Las Vegas 6th ward. He lived in the block next to mine I think it was 9th street in Las Vegas. We did many things together including annoying our Sunday School teachers and going on several scout outings through the years. We both had Faye Boyd as a Sunday School teacher and I am sure we weren’t the nicest of teenage boys but Faye did much for many of those that had her as a Sunday School teacher and I still remember her famous Popcorn balls she brought as bribes on Sunday.
    I started working my junior year of high school which took me out of much of the activities that everyone engaged in and actually graduated a year before Steve. We both served in the West German Mission at the same time but by then my parents had moved to Utah where the ward they lived in was mainly younger families so there were very few older boys in that ward. I know the 6th ward had difficulty sending all the boys that wanted to go on missions from that ward and had to farm several of them out. I hadn’t seen Steve for almost 50 years but he then came to the 50 year high school reunion with his brother Bob. We had a good time talking and reminiscing over the time we spent in that special ward in Las Vegas. I felt sorry for Steve when his Mother Esther died. I know all those that preceded him in death are enjoying his presence. It was a pleasure to know and grow up with Steve. Keep the light on for us.

  • They say when a dying tree falls in the forest it actually helps the surrounding area by cycling nutrients and assisting with plant regeneration along with many other benefits. I could not help but think of this analogy as I pictured Steve as a great oak tree that has fallen in our forest. Anyone that knew him will carry some of those extra nutrients with them to aid them in their journey through life. He was just that type of guy, (or tree in this analogy!) You couldn’t help but walk a little taller and be a little better just by knowing him.
    Being from South Tempe (shout out to all from there!!) I remember Steve best by any one if his many talks given. They were always so insightful and well thought out. You always went away feeling like you had just gained some tremendous understanding on whatever topic he was covering because you did. He had a unique and distinct voice and I will always remember what a powerful influence for good he had in the lives of so many.
    On a personal note I thought it was so funny how he used to rough me up about being single when he was serving in the Tempe West Stake Presidency. He was so happy when he learned I was getting married and loved to take credit for that. He said it was because he called me out on it so often. Ha ha! Had such a great sense of humor. Too funny.
    All our best to you, Cameron, and the rest of the Earl family as you prepare to honor a live so well lived. From the Edwards family.

  • My first experience with Brother Earl was just after he moved into our Ward in Gilbert. I was serving with Bishop Jared Everton in the Bishopric at the time. We had called Brother Earl to be our ward Gospel Doctrine Teacher. He requested a ward list of members with photos. We didn’t have an updated list at the time with photos and I inquired why he would need that. He told me he likes to memorize each person in the ward to know their name and face. I was struck by this man’s willingness to be a friend to others and dedicate himself to his new calling. He quickly had the names and photos of the ward members and he soon was calling everyone by their name. It was remarkable to witness how he quickly became an integral member of our ward family. It’s been an inspiration to me ever since to have that sense of dedication and service mind to become a valued member of my ward.
    Soon after I was honored to be the Earl’s home teacher with my son. Each month he would graciously invite us into our his home and we have a gospel discussion in his office. I could tell he loved and cared for his wife dearly. He always spoke of her with love and kindness. He also treated my son and I with such warmth and kindness. Giving us insights into his gospel knowledge and teaching us whenever we came to visit. I remember after one visit, my son remarking that he loved to visit with Brother Earl and how he always felt better after spending the time with him.
    I will forever be grateful for my association with this great man. He was kind, warm, knowledgeable and a man of Christ. He will be missed until we meet again.

  • Grady Gammage, Jr.

    I first met Steve in the summer of 1975. We were fellow summer law clerks at Jennings, Strouss and Salmon. We had been recruited by Charles E. (“Bud”) Jones, and Jon Kyl. Three of us were “gentiles”. Charles Santaguida grew up in El Paso and was from the University of Chicago Law School. Stunningly smart, he never did figure out how to bill time or cash his paychecks. Dick Burnham, who has now been my partner for more than 40 years, was from Northwestern and seemed to carry a picture of Ronald Reagan with him everywhere. I was going to Stanford, having grown up in Phoenix. The other three clerks were “Saints”. Bruce Whiting, from BYU, didn’t really want a permanent job at JS&S, intending to go into his family’s oil and lumber business. Layne Morrill, from the University of Pennsylvania, billed more hours in his first month as a clerk than most lawyers ever manage to hit in their entire careers. And Steve.

    There was some risk that the 3 and 3 nature of the clerk line up would lead to a sense of competing teams. The Mormons were married, stable, mature, focused, ambitious. The other three of us were single and drank our way through the summer. But somehow the group wasn’t fractured in two. A lot of the reason was Steve. I think he was born to the patriarch role, and assumed that mantle in our group. We mainly sat in the library, did research, and talked to each other. Steve was a natural born story teller, and could describe any movie he saw in a way that made it more interesting than it actually was.

    Most people who knew Steve will remember him as serious, formal and reserved. People in his firm referred to him as “Mr. Earl.” He wore suits long after most lawyers in Phoenix learned to dress down. But my memories are of Steve are about how funny he could be. It would never have occurred to him to be mean or sarcastic to make something humorous. He would never have told a joke at someone else’s expense. But his wit was serious, knowledgeable and playful.

    We came back after that summer, all of us but Bruce, and began our careers at JS&S. When we started, the offices were not exactly stylish. A lot of green naugahydes had died to upholster the chairs. On each of the firm’s floors the entry doors were marked with two unrealistically shiny five foot high plastic plants in copper pots that looked like they should be in the lobby of a cheesy Polynesian themed motel on East Van Buren. As associates we were embarrassed, but no one who mattered was interested in our aesthetic judgment.

    Roxie Bacon was two classes ahead of us, the first woman lawyer in the firm and often the source of anonymous memos and pranks. The partners had no idea how often Steve and I were her co-conspirators. We were usually content to let her take the fall. One of us – and I choose to believe it was Steve – hatched the idea of putting one of the plants in each of the elevators in the Arizona Title Building after the close of business. So the next day, when people started arriving, the doors would open to a potted plant riding up in the elevator. There was consternation, but no retribution. The point was made that it was time to redecorate.

    Over time, Steve and I gravitated to the same specialty: zoning. We worked for Jay Stuckey and Paul Gilbert, and learned about land use together. We shared strategies and ideas. He was a stunningly good lawyer. For my entire career. Steve was my go to choice when I needed to refer a case elsewhere. For last few years I didn’t see him nearly as much as I would have liked.

    Over the years I enjoyed talking to Steve about his faith. I admired his deeply held belief, though I did not share it. Today I have an image of him entering heaven. I hope that the pearly gates are not framed by plastic potted plants.
    –Grady Gammage, Jr.

  • Steve was our go-to zoning attorney for 30 years. He had a unique gift of bringing two parties together and being everyone’s friend with his calm demeanor, sharp mind, and sense of fairness and respect for all. I think that’s what helped him relate to people, because even if he was arguing with you, you couldn’t help but like him. He found the way to show that his points were practical, so whether he was speaking with government officials, neighbors, etc. they had to consider his point of view. One quote I can share, and this is less than a year ago, is when he was handling a case in Chandler for us. I was feeling frustrated by the city taking advantage of us, and extorting more than fair design concessions on a project. He said in his calm voice “Mike it’s just politics, there’s no reason to get upset about it. Just let it play out.” And so I tried to remain confident and calm, and like he said it played out and the project got approved.

    Though we only knew him in a work setting, we knew he genuinely cared about us and our business. I could see he was a very dedicated family man and was very proud of you all. We at Sun State Builders send our deepest condolences for your loss. I know he will be deeply missed but nobody can take away all that he was to you and the way he lives on in each of you.

    Mike

  • Steve and the Pederson Group worked together on several zoning cases, some close calls and others slam dunks, but all were successful. The most significant victory was one that I personally had a lot on the line. My neighbor was in the process of building a lighted batting cage directly in front of my front door! My neighbor did not respond to any of my appeals and I needed help. I knew of Steve’s many accomplishments academically, professionally and in is private life. I felt embarrassed asking such an accomplished individual for help with this kind of issue but he put his shoulder to the wheel and the batting cage went away. That’s the kind of guy Steve was. He was a huge credit to our industry and we will miss him dearly.

  • I worked with Steve for 30 years initially doing neighborhood work for his clients on controversial zoning cases. In many cases it was turning around a community that had been misled by those wanting to block a development. I’m proud to say we (Steve, Mike, Lynne and team) were successful in our efforts. I wish I could say it was fun and humorous, but by the nature of the cases it was usually hard, hot and tough work; the nature of the land use attorney work. Because of our success with Steve, et al, I had the pleasure of working with many other attorney’s on those types of cases. I want to thank Steve for the opportunity and the mentoring that came with this business relationship. But, our relationship transcended business, he became a friend. As many of you have heard, you learn who your friends are when you are no longer a person of influence, more specifically after my tenure as an elected official. Steve and I continued to meet, or talk, on a regular basis to keep up with each other and communicated as late as the week before his passing. Thank you Steve for your friendship, mentorship and all the good things you have done in our community. God bless you and prayers to your family and many friends you leave with good memories.

  • In the last 5 years, Steve and I have shared countless phone calls and public meetings as we worked together to zone and build a number of a multifamily projects in the Valley. He approached every case like it was the most important case of his life.

    His work ethic, integrity, and empathetic approach is without equal.

    About two years ago, I was walking with Steve to the City of Phoenix council chambers from his secret parking spot nearby (which he was kind enough to share with me), and I noticed I was walking too far ahead of him. I stopped and waited for him to catch up. He had a wry smile on his face, and for about 10 seconds, we walked on in silence. He appeared to be deep in contemplation, so I took the bait:

    “Steve, what are you smiling about?” I asked.

    Steve looked at me and said, “Clay- when I was younger, my wife would berate me for walking too fast. I was always in such a hurry to get to my destination. I was always confused when everyone didn’t keep up to my pace. Now I know how it feels to be the slower one. Enjoy your youth, Big Guy.”

    Steve’s positive imprint on the many lives he has touched will not soon be forgotten.

  • I have many wonderful memories of Uncle Steve and the Earl family. When we would visit Grandpa and Grandma in Las Vegas and have family gatherings I remember my mother coming to get us kids who were playing outside saying her brothers were “on a roll” cracking jokes with that wonderful Earl sense of humor and she didn’t want us to miss it.

    Later when Mom was on hospice in our home I remember him coming to visit in CA with Grandpa and others, holding mom’s hand and telling her it was okay to go and saying a tender goodbye.

    When I found out I had PKD, the disease that has affected our family so strongly, and my kidneys were failing, Uncle Steve gave me a blessing, telling me that the time would come that my kidneys would fail and I’d need dialysis, but that time was not then. He shared a testimony of Jesus as “the great healer” who knew each of us from the crown of our heads to the soles of our feet and who would guide the physicians in caring for us. My kidney function recovered and I had many years before I needed dialysis treatments,

    A few years ago, after my father’s passing, when my sister was very ill and hospitalized, he came walking into the hospital room in his suit and tie, clearly tired from a long work day, and sat down beside us. My sister didn’t wake up during his visit, wasn’t aware he was there, but I’ll never forget that he drove across the valley that evening, when he was already so tired, to sit next to her bed and offer support and comfort. What a great man!

  • Steve will be rembered for his outstanding work ethic, professionalism and love of family. On behalf of Phoenix Childrens Hospital, we are grateful for his work on the new Hospital. He worked with the neighborood in a kind and caring manner. Extremely responsive as Claude Mattox noted … thank you and RIP.

  • The entire Earl family walked into our lives early on as soon as Mike joined Steve and his firm. Mike and I were always grateful for that opportunity as it brought Steve Earl into our lives which was a blessing. Steve was a great mentor to Mike both in law and in life for many decades. Steve and Mike were as different as you can possibly imagine but very quickly became great partners and the dearest of friends. Being a big-hearted family man, Steve extended the offer to babysit each of our kids as they approached 1 year when Mike and I went on long vacations. It was Steve’s and JaNae’s kids who held a competition with each other to see who could get each of our kids to walk their first steps long before we were ready for them to take those steps! Steve’s humor, his natural way to bring calm to any situation, his insightfulness, his being there just for you, his love for family, his deep faith, and his captivating laughter especially when it was at himself, made every moment spent with Steve a joy. Steve shared with each of us his wonderful perspectives on life and that is a long-lasting gift to us all. We love you dearly Steve and we thank you for all the good things you brought to our lives. You will remain in our hearts forever. God bless Steve, and JaNae and the entire Earl family.
    Much love, Nancy Curley and our family

  • Pres. Earl was one of the best men I’ve ever known. He was in the Stake Presidency in the Tempe West Stake for many years. He was always affable and yet serious. He was driven by gospel knowledge but tender with mercy and humor. I remember being inspired by many talks that he gave but my favorite memory is how he tenderly and insightfully made me a more effective disciple of Jesus Christ. I had been called to be the Stake Sunday School President and really had no clue what to do as it felt like a very nebulous calling. I “reported” in to him and after a month or two of struggling to know what to do, Steve sensed my lack of direction and pulled me aside and gave me some simple, sage advice, “Bryce, if you’ll just start meeting with your Counselors on a regular basis and start with the handbook, you’ll find that inspiration will begin to flow.” I followed his advice and his promise held true. We had wonderful experiences as a SS Presidency because of his wise counsel and perceptive concern. I will always be grateful for the influence Steve Earl has had in my life.

  • I was also a member of Steve’s ward when they moved to Gilbert. I also felt special that he knew my name, and was always spiritually fed when he was teaching or speaking. It was a surprise to me t learn that he was a successful attorney and an important figure in the Tempe community. He was so down to earth, approachable, interesting, funny, humble and kind, and I was honored to be his friend. What a wonderful example he was to me of someone that was continually struggling with serious health issues without complaint. I feel so sad that he is no longer with us, but I will never forget him or the positive contributions that he made to my life during the few years that I knew him.

  • Daryl and Karly Williams

    i met Steve when we were freshmen at BYU in the same student ward. We went to law school together, sat together in classes, and were study partners. We were both married in law school and shared experiences as couples during those three years. Steve and I played handball several times a week to relax during law school. We both clerked in Phoenix before our last year in law school. Graduated from law school and both moved to Arizona to practice law, living next door to each other in an apartment complex in Tempe while studying for the bar. We have traveled together too many places to remember, always having the best times ever. We both had the happiest families there could be. Karly and I went through a box of photos that brought back many of the memories and good times we had together before this very inadequate condolence for the loss of our life-long friend. Except for Steve, JaNae, Karly, and me, no one can know how close and rich our relationship was. Fun. Serious, Loving. Faith promoting. Supportive. We miss him now and always will until we meet again in the resurrection. Daryl and Karly.

  • Stephen made a huge impact on development in the valley. It was a pleasure to work with Stephen on projects in Phoenix. He treated all city employees with respect, kindness and thoughtfulness and my staff and I greatly appreciated his professionalism when working on a challenging rezoning, zoning adjustment or development project. He pushed staff to look for creative solutions that resulted in timely, quality and code compliant projects. I’ll miss seeing him in city hall.

  • Reading all the stories above makes me smile and reminds me how little we know some of the wonderful people we work with in our careers. As a land planner I did have the opportunity to work with Steve over the last 30 plus years on several zoning cases. He was always fair, professional and a calming influence. My deepest sympathy for Steve’s family.

  • Stephen, I only knew you for a short time but you left a lasting impression. You showed strength and determination in your most challenging times. You are an inspiration to me.

  • I knew Steve from Church circles and as a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. Our local board meetings were graced by Steve’s quick wit and solid counsel for many years. He was a generous,
    kind

  • I have fond memories from our time together at Jennings, Strouss. Steve was accepting and kind, and I smiled when reading Grady’s comments regarding his wonderful sense of humor. I did not see him for many years, but we reconnected for lunch after Mike Curley’s passing and it was like so little time had passed. I am so glad I had that chance to be with him. Steve was a good man. My deepest condolences to JaNae and the family at this very sad loss. Steve will be missed by many.

  • Matt Orlando, Chandler City Councilmember

    I’ve relished my friendship with Steve. He was a gentleman in every aspect. He always represented his clients in the most ethical manner. He never once in the 30 years, I’ve known him ever let me,as a public official astray.
    His word was his bond. Of course, I’ll miss him.
    His legacy will continue on in my heart.

    My warmest regards and sympathy to JaNae and the rest of the family.

  • My condolences to the Earl family on the passing of their amazing father and patriarch. My association with Steve began when I moved to Tempe/Chandler area upon graduating from BYU. As a young single adult I was a member of the Tempe 19th Ward in the Tempe South Stake. After a while of attending the YSA ward I was called as the Ward Clerk. I first met Steve through this calling when he would visit our ward as a counselor in the Tempe South Stake Presidency. With my calling I would end up serving for about five years with three different Bishops. With each visit from President Earl, as time wore on, whenever he would see me he would say something like “You are still here? (Shaking his head) You need to get married!” This became a running joke with each visit. The “ribbing” was always fun and good-natured to me, I was never offended. I always looked forward to his visiting the YSA ward. I was always impressed with his talks, and remember feeling the spirit as he delivered his message. Many times he shared wonderful personal experiences that touched and influenced me greatly.
    Fast forward several years. I moved out of the Tempe/Chandler area, but not before working toward and helping to create a ward for middle single adults in the new Tempe West Stake. I eventually married and had a young family. I had an occasion to be in the Tempe area on business, and I was attending Church with a friend at the Tempe West Stake Center when who do I happen upon but Steve Earl. Now he was a counselor in the Tempe West Stake Presidency. I was not surprised. He took time, out of what I am sure was a busy schedule, to personally visit with me in a private setting and get caught up with my life. I also had a chance to get caught up on his life and how he found himself in another stake presidency. He shared with me some very sacred insights about the middle singles ward that I cherish to this day. I love Steve Earl for his example and the influence my life. I am grateful for his service and his testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • Phil and Mary Alvidrez

    Mary and I always will think of Steve and JaNae as we first met—as young marrieds in our first family ward in Tempe back in the 1970’s. Many will remember Steve’s many years of health struggles, but it wasn’t always that way. One Sunday, he taught a lesson on the importance of being physically as well as spiritually fit. Attempting to put that lesson into practice, Steve and I became running partners, something we continued until one day, he was called to be bishop. Steve was still in his 20’s. I was a bit in awe of him then and that never changed. Before long, demands on his time ended our regular runs, but not our friendship. Years later, he challenged me to be spiritually fit, laying his hands on my head and blessing me that I could fulfill a calling, calming my doubts by reminding me to commit and just put one foot in front of the other—just as we had when we ran together so many years before. I miss you, Steve, but never will forget your example. Our love to JaNae and the rest of your family.

  • Along with his spiritual nature, Steve was blessed with the gift of wit and humor. He always had a story to tell about everyone he knew, sometimes embellished for effect. My earliest memory occurred when he was a counsellor in the Stake Presidency with Kent Christensen. He was conducting a session of stake conference that was attended by Apostle Bruce R. McConkie. He introduced the visitor with the observation that “Elder McConkie’s idea of recreation is to loosen his tie while he studies the scriptures”. No reaction or even a smile was evident on Elder McConkie’s face. Several years later I had a privilege of serving on the high council when Steve was a counselor to President Tilleman in the Tempe West Stake. One day I mentioned to him the incident with Elder McConkie. He did not remember it, but laughed and asked if he could use the story in an upcoming speech, as if he really needed my permission . So among all of his many spiritual talks and lessons, you could always expect some humor.

  • Laguna Beach, California: fun at the ocean and playing games are memories shared with the Earls & Smiths with our family. The ties go back to the close bonds our parents made while in law school in Washington DC in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

    My admiration for Steve’s father led me to name a son, Rulon Earl Randall. Later in Arizona, Steve was so loyal to place his insurance with my agency, and I enjoyed this personal contact with him as he added new homes, cars, and drivers and had questions regarding his insurance needs – usually with a visit, sharing memories and a good story / joke. The service was a wonderful tribute to him and your entire family! Love from the Randalls

  • My recollections of, and respect for Steve are from a distance as a fellow colleague in the cadre of land-use/real estate development attorneys. In four decades of practicing law in the unique world of local land use projects we were not adverse to each other and we did not collaborate in any significant way on projects or with clients. We had no history of family, friends, church or work connections. We knew each other, were aware of our professional experiences and when we saw each other and spoke he was always friendly, thoughtful and kind. So why mention this in an expression of condolence at this most precious and sacred occasion? It is for the simple reason that JaNae and her family may comprehend and recognize that her husband and their father and grandfather had a natural sense of gentlemanly elegance that captured that attention and respect of all those he came in contact with. He was everything a good man should be and incidental to that he was a consummate lawyer. Honest, clear, fair, articulate, balanced and fiercely loyal to his client’s cause epitomize his professional career.

  • I don’t remember when I first met Steve, but I do recall that I quickly gained respect for his knowledge and experience as a zoning lawyer, and for way he prepared for “team” meetings when he worked with us as an expert witness in connection with condemnation cases. Even though he did not hold himself out as a litigator, his input with regard to case strategy was uniformly helpful as he always seemed to have an understanding of he “big picture” of the case. We in the condemnation bar have lost a friend and a valuable resource.

    About 5 years ago, Steve offered a tribute to his deceased partner, Mike Curley, during Mike’s funeral. For me, Steve’s remarks demonstrated both his heartfelt loss of a close friend and his (Steve’s) Christian faith. I left that service with a deeper appreciation of the significance of faith and Scripture in Steve’s life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • I first met Steve in 1987 along with Daryl and Ernie and hired Steve to represent SunCor Development on a very difficult annexation zoning matter. He quickly referred us to Rex Lee and we prevailed in the Arizona Court of Appeals. This opened the doors for us to develop several thousand acres in the Southwest Valley. We had many late night zoning hearings along with Mike Curley and each time we had a successful outcome. The case I remember most came several years later in 2017 while I was helping St. Vincent de Paul with adding a new building in South Phoenix to house disabled homeless Vets and provide necessary services to the homeless. Mike Curley had helped SVdP previously so when I called Steve to get his advice he immediately said he’d help us out. With Steve’s help, we were able to secure the necessary zoning & permits to complete the project and today we provide services to thousands and 60 transitional beds at that facility. Steve never sent SVdP a bill for his firm’s services. He said he was doing God’s work to help the less fortunate. May God Bless you and your family Steve Earl, may you Rest in Peace.

  • I want to extend my sincerest condolences to the Earl family. I am a member of the Tempe Development Review Commission and I was always so impressed with the honesty and integrity Mr. Earl brought to the proceedings. If there were any issues he would work them out. He was one of the best, I am sad to see him go.

  • Evelyn Earl Jeffries

    I knew my cousin Steve as a little boy, bigger boy, and teenager who played with my brother David at family reunions and get-togethers with Uncle Rulon and Aunt Esther. Karen and I would hang out with Allan and Ted and Johnny. It wasn’t until after Steve graduated from law school and was married and clerking in Phoenix that I really got to know him and his stunning and talented wife JaNae. A year later I had graduated from paralegal school, moved to Tempe, and found myself in a ward with Steve as my baby bishop! I realize there are many people to whom I need to apologize for trying both their patience and their faith, and Bishop Steve was certainly one of them. I was not his easiest parishioner. But he had the wisdom to bless me with a succession of wonderful young couple home teachers who doted on my daughter Heidi and were of invaluable aid to a hard-working single mother when the floods came (literally!). He was a superb bishop with a great intellect, delightful sense of humor, and endless patience. When he pointed out to me that he had assigned his very best home teachers to me, I told him I didn’t know anybody who needed or deserved them more. When I pointed out that it was ridiculous to have the sisters meeting on the stage and the brothers meeting in the Relief Society Room when there were more sisters than brothers and the brothers would fall asleep wherever they were anyway, he laughed, then switched them. He ran a tight ship, kicking speakers, including me, in the back of the leg if we talked too long. I was a litigation paralegal in Phoenix for 20 years, and often ran into people who knew Steve. His reputation as a lawyer was impeccable. I was always proud to be able to call him cousin. I moved, and the Earls moved, and we went back to seeing each other only at reunions and funerals. But it was always a joy to share even a few moments of his wit and welcoming hugs. I love knowing of the joyous reunion taking place with his parents and siblings.

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