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Steven (Steve) Craig Raeder
Fearless Into the Unknown…
Steve Raeder, 60, beloved husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and pop-pop passed away after complications from a double lung transplant at UW Medical ICU on November 2, 2022. Steve is survived by his wife of 39 years, Lora; daughters, Amber (Aaron), Samantha (Michael), and Stephanie (Chance); his grandchildren, Quinn, Ella, and Hudson; parents, John and Kay; sister, Tammy; brother, Scott (Heather); in-laws Tom and Marcy Driskill; sisters-in-law Connie (Pat), Gail, and their children; and his fur babies, Gracie and Layla.
Born in Renton Steve grew up in Kirkland and later moved to Enumclaw with his family. He graduated from Enumclaw High School in 1980 and immediately went to Eastern Washington University where he met the love of his life, Lora. Steve attended Perry Tech Trade School for HVAC from 1981-1983. After marrying in 1983, Steve and Lora started their own HVAC Company, Universal Refrigeration, in 1985. Starting as the only technician for their business, Steve eventually took on every aspect of the business: the accounting, sales and staff. His passion for learning and love for serving others created a thriving and successful business for over 20 years.
After an early retirement, his numerous hobbies over the years ranged from annual fishing trips in Alaska, boating, racing Corvettes and trading stocks and futures. Steve’s happy place was always on the water and being outdoors. Some of the most memorable family trips were spent boating on lakes all around Washington and Idaho. The water brought out the best in him—it rejuvenated his soul. His compassion and love for animals was also an integral part of his life. There wasn’t a dog he didn’t adore.
Steve excelled in everything he set his mind to. A brilliant and passionate man, Steve had a knack for teaching himself new skills and knowledge. Steve could always be found reading, researching and fully immersing himself in a hobby, idea or business venture until he became an expert. His determination was always admirable and his discipline and dedication were unparalleled. Steve thrived on challenges and change and always had a can-do attitude. Fiercely loyal and caring for people, Steve used his gifts to help others and impacted so many lives and communities over the years. He possessed a true servant’s heart.
Although Steve had several notable accomplishments in life, all paled in comparison to that of his family. He was so proud of the life he built with his soul mate Lora. The devotion and unconditional love he had for Lora was palpable. To witness their love story, friendship and commitment to one another was to behold something truly special. Steve was beyond proud of what he always lovingly referred to as ‘HIS girls.’ An excellent husband and devoted father, Steve was the ultimate ‘girl dad’ and was consistently there for his three daughters, Amber, Samantha and Stephanie. He never missed a single school program, sporting event or important moment in his children’s lives. He could always be found (and heard!) in the audience cheering louder than anybody else. He was known for giving epic speeches and pep-talks and always had a lesson to teach. Steve had a way of blending tough love with encouragement that made his girls feel like they could do anything. It was no surprise then, when his sons-in-law came around, that Steve took them under his wing from the very beginning. Cultivating a close bond and relationship with them all, he loved and treated each one like a son. Steve was also the best Pop-Pop to his beloved grandchildren. Being a big kid at heart himself, his playfulness, fun-natured spirit and avid love of desserts (which he shared) made him adored and cherished by his grand babies.
Steve was a man who lived life to the fullest and poured himself into everything he did—he worked hard and played hard. Steve could often be heard toting the line “if you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly!” His silliness, fun-loving attitude and warm smile made him the life of every party and his zest for life was infectious. There wasn’t one song he didn’t know the lyrics (and guitar solos) to. He played a mean air guitar and had the goofiest dance moves. He was also notorious for giving those he loved the most ridiculous, yet, endearing nicknames. If Steve gave you a nickname—it stuck.
To know him was to love him. The world seems a little darker now without Steve’s presence. Our hearts will never feel whole without him and we will miss him every single day. We cling to the comfort knowing Steve is with Jesus—made whole, no longer suffering and living in His Glory. We know he’s up there being the life and light of the party. Steve’s legacy of servitude, gratitude and fun will always be something we strive to accomplish in our own lives. We have some big shoes to fill and hope we make him proud. May we all be like Steve: loving, disciplined, dedicated and fearless into the unknown.
There will be a Celebration of Life service held for Steve on April 29, 2023 at the Enumclaw Field House at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Scleroderma Research Foundation, a disease Steve suffered from: https://srfcure.org/support-us/ways-to-give/tribute-or-memorial-gifts/.
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