POLSON – Steve was born June 5, 1926, to Stephen A. and Hazel M. Mahaffey at their home on the Mahaffey Ranch located in Tendoy, Idaho. He was one of two children, including Hazel Jane, a sister.
His parents had purchased this ranch in 1918. The ranch itself was known as the Sharkey Ranch and during the stage coach days, it was a regular stopping place where freighters and coaches could take meals, spend the night, etc. Prior to that time, it was the site of the first temporary settlement in Idaho (1850) for Mormon missionaries. Portions of the original mud walls of the settlement still stand. Steve Mahaffey II (father) passed away July 2, 1953, at the home ranch after a long illness.
Steve attended Tendoy Grade School and graduated from Leadore (Idaho) High School in 1943. He attended the University of Idaho, Southern Branch and Pocatello, Idaho, before enlisting in the Air Force in March 1944. He was discharged Nov. 10, 1945, and returned to the ranch to work with his parents.
On June 10, 1949, he married his soul mate, Miss Norma Jean Richardson of Seventeen Mile. They had three sons: Stephen A. (Maya), Michael Kim (Janie) and Riley Jay (Stephanie), who live in Indonesia, Baker City, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho, respectively. Steve and Norma are blessed with seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In addition to the ranching procedures in Idaho and Montana that involved the production of cattle and sheep in commercial operations, Steve was active in many interests and activities at the community, county and state levels. Below is an abbreviated list of all of the organizations Steve was involved with:
• Idaho Masonry-Worshipful Master of the Salmon Lodge.
• Past Commander-Salmon Commandery No. 9.
• Past Grand Prelate-Grand Commandery of Idaho.
• Worshipful Grand Master of Grand Lodge A.F & A.M. of Idaho (1972-73).
• 50-year member of all five Masonic Bodies.
• Life member of El Korah Shrine, A.A.O.N.M.S, Boise, Idaho.
• South Lemhi County School District (21 years).
• Idaho School Board Association (past president).
• Idaho State Brand Board (12 years).
• Lemhi Irrigation District Chairman (13 years)
• Idaho Cattle Association (member and past director).
• Lewis and Clark Trail Commission.
• Lemhi County Purebred Beef Association (past director and president).
• Lemhi Cattle and Horse Growers (member and past president).
Steve’s life took a large and productive change after the ranches sold in the mid-1970s. He was instrumental in the development of a sawmill construction company based in Salmon, Idaho, that built facilities across the West, but eventually fell victim to a changing market for lumber production.
From here he went into the large construction industry and worked as a heavy-equipment operator and then purchasing agent for large companies like Morrison Knudsen, Cyprus Mining and Coeur Rochester Mining in Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming.
He eventually reached a stage in his life where he was able to retire and spend all of his time with the love of his life, Norma Jean Mahaffey. They purchased a fifth-wheel trailer, hooked it up to the pickup, loaded up the cat and dog, and saw our beautiful country that is America.
They spent Steve’s final years at their beautiful property on the shores of Flathead Lake. They made numerous friends and created long-lasting relationships (as they did wherever they seemed to spend time through life). Steve dusted off his vocal chords and became a member of the Polson Community Church's choir (to the surprise of his family) as well as showing off his construction project management knowledge on a few church improvement projects.
Wherever Steve ended up, he left an impression on everyone he made contact with. Usually he raised eyebrows with his delivery, but eventually people saw through the rough and tough style and learned to see the tremendous caring and loving person that he was.
Steve left our world for a better place Nov. 10, 2014, at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula with his family by his side.
You will be missed, Stephen Mahaffey!
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Polson Community Church.
Memorial and graveside services will be held in Salmon in May 2015. Date and time are to be determined. Notice will be provided prior.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in Stephen’s name to the Shiners Hospital for Children or the animal shelters in Polson or Salmon.
Arrangements are under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory. Memories and condolences may be sent to the family at groganfuneralhome.com.