Wilbur Stephens (Wib), a long time Fallon resident, peacefully passed away this past winter. He lived into his mid-90s and loved his projects
and his garden until the end.
He was born in Fromberg, Montana and grew up in a family with 12 children on a small farm. He was a twin, and as Wilbur Earl, he dearly loved his twin sister, Wilma Pearl. As a child of the Great Depression growing up in Washington’s Yakima Valley, he learned the value of family and ingenuity. He lived in Fallon, Nevada for 38 years and was happily married for 71 years to Patricia (Eagleson) Stephens, whom he met during their freshman year of college.
They corresponded during his service in WWII where he was deployed to the South Pacific aboard an Army Repair Ship the “JE Gorman”. The GI Bill helped him obtain a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering degree from Washington State University.
Wib Stephens’ mechanical engineering degrees led to jobs that allowed him to travel to Central America and Europe as a specialist in the design and construction of industrial aluminum furnaces. He loved mechanical challenges and spent his adult life collecting and repairing clocks, watches, telescopes, and any other useful item that presented a challenge. After he retired from Kennametal in Fallon, he grew and canned produce from his half-acre garden, had projects galore in his basement, and never knew a boring moment. He was honest, hard working, and loved his community and his country. Wib was known in Fallon for serving as Project Manager for the installation of the A-7 jet on Highway 50 near the western entrance to town. He enjoyed offering the treat of star gazing on Halloween nights to many kids; his largest telescope with a 17 inch diameter mirror has been given to Churchill County High School in memory of the astronomy he strove to share.
Wib taught his four children to be independent, and to complement a college education with life-long learning; whatever your passions. He is survived by his four children, several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and four siblings, including his brother, Bob, who is 101.
Wib’s humble beginnings contributed to the successful, renaissance-man that he became. A classic “maker” and repairer of all things, he will be remembered for his work ethic; his independence; and his devotion to his home, his wife, his extended family, his projects, and his dog, Rocky. He lived a good, long life, and he is missed.
He is buried in the Fernley Veterans Memorial Cemetery, surrounded by the beauty of the Nevada that he loved.