Joseph Stepchew, 90, of Falmouth died at home on Sunday, August 29, after battling symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
He was the widower of Frances Roxine (Pizzarelo) Stepchew. His wife of 67 years died August 27.
He met his wife while in high school in Stamford, Connecticut. They both went on to attend the University of Connecticut, and Mr. Stepchew graduated with an engineering degree.
After their marriage in Stamford in 1954, they moved to Pocasset while Mr. Stepchew served at Otis Air Force Base. He remained in the reserves until 1967 when he was discharged as a captain.
Mr. Stepchew went to work for RCA in Los Angeles in 1955, designing a regulated power supply for the Douglas Thor missile flight control system. After further work for RCA in New Jersey, he earned his master’s in electrical engineering from Drexel Institute of Technology night school, using the GI Bill.
In 1964 Mr. Stepchew joined the system team testing and evaluating the TRADEX radar installation at Kwajalein, and he and his family moved to the Marshall Islands. He was mission test director, responsible for integrating the operation of three radars: TRADEX, ALCOR and ALTAIR.
While living in Micronesia the family traveled extensively.
They moved back to the United States in 1969 and settled in Bedford; Mr. Stepchew became leader of the RCA systems and software engineers team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. He also worked for Concord Research Corp. and GTE Government Systems in Needham.
Mr. Stepchew went back to Kwajalein in 1982 as the ALTAIR site manager, returning to Bedford in 1987. He became executive program manager for Communications System Segment Replacement, a $200 million program for the US Air Force Cheyenne Mountain complex in Colorado Springs.
The Stepchews sold their home in Bedford in 1993 and retired to Falmouth. They also spent winters at The Villages in Florida.
A golfer, Mr. Stepchew played in tournaments with the Falmouth Newcomers as well as in Florida; with his wife, he enjoyed square dancing. In Falmouth he joined his wife in volunteering with Around the Table and took part in the team that planned, cooked, and served the annual holiday dinner for Thanksgiving at the parish house at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.
He leaves three children, Catherine Frances Cowern of Kauai, Hawaii, William Joseph Stepchew of Biddeford, Maine, and James John Stepchew of Kwajalein, and their spouses; six grandchildren, Joseph and Daniel Stepchew, Alicia McGuirk and Diana Cowern, and Rachael, Tyler and Claire Stepchew; three great-grandchildren; and extended family.
A memorial gathering is being planned for spring.