The family and friends of Stephen J. Attis celebrate his wonderful life while grieving his passing on April 1st, 2019 at the age of 60.
Born in the Bronx, New York on December 25th, 1958, Stephen was the devoted son of Catherine "Midge" Attis and the late Stephen E. Attis. He is survived by his beloved fiancée, Jane Fawcett, sisters, Deborah Martin (Bill) and Laura Attis (Andy Gesner) and brother, Brian Attis (Maria). He is also survived by five cherished nieces and nephews, Daniel and Michelle Martin and Alex, Andrew and Laura Attis and four godchildren, Beth, Cathryn, Jonathan, and Melanie.
Moving to Pompano Beach as a teenager when his father was transferred with Southern Bell, Stephen quickly flourished in his Floridian life becoming an avid scuba diver and boater. He loved using his carpentry, plumbing, and electric skills and helped his father build a family home in Big Coppitt Key.
Radiating a charismatic and exuberant personality, Stephen's personal motto was "Loving Life and Living Large" and it guided the manner in which he lived his life with gusto. He had a zest for adventure, enjoying thrilling activities such as diving for abalone in California, spear fishing in the local waters and exploring the remote Alaskan wilderness.
Always demonstrating an industrious work ethic and perpetually cheerful disposition, Stephen was employed by AT&T for 37 years. He was a fourth-generation employee of the telecommunications company, working as a Facilities Technician, who thoroughly enjoyed teaching others his craft and "chasing troubles." He served as an Executive Board Delegate for the Communications Workers of America Local 3104, and was Chairman of the Safety Committee, Job Steward for decades and involved in the Members Assistance Program. In 1989, Stephen received the President's Meritorious Award (the company's highest) for helping to save the life of a young woman involved in an auto accident. He was described by his colleagues as an "accomplished, skilled, hardworking, dedicated employee, who was respected by everyone he came in contact with, and who had a genuine concern and interest in his coworkers' well-being." A manager in the company referred to Stephen as a "jewel in the company with a heart of gold."
As a Southern Bell employee , Stephen was a puppeteer with "Kids on the Block", an award-winning theater troupe, from the Telephone Pioneers of America, that traveled throughout the state, teaching acceptance, compassion and tolerance for children with disabilities in state and county public schools. He was particularly proud of his work documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for AT&T.
Enthralled by the treasures of the sea, Stephen turned his love of scuba diving into a passion for protecting Florida's maritime history and oceanic resources. He was the President & Founder of Research a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose motto is "Diving to Make a Difference!" Stephen enlisted a dedicated team of volunteer technical divers to help identify, recover and preserve maritime artifacts. Along with his team of volunteers, he also worked tirelessly to conserve the local coral reef system with monitoring, protection and restoration projects. Stephen and his Vone team worked in collaboration with governmental and other like-minded local, county and state agencies to provide research, conservation, preservation and education with respect to historical and archaeological resources. Stephen's work on the Copenhagen and Half Moon shipwrecks was recognized by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources in particular by the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. The videography work of the Vone team became part of the Bureau's Underwater Archeological Preserve for public education and outreach use. Stephen's team of divers located the missing ketch anchor of the Copenhagen and placed it back on the popular shipwreck site in addition to locating a WWII torpedo with a U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Detachment. Of particular note was Stephen's work with Pompano Beach High School in preserving the Gil Blas anchor which is in the center of Hillsboro Inlet Park, the installation of both the Snorkel Trail and Biorock Project in the Town of Lauderdale by the Sea, early recognition of the lionfish invasion and coalition with local dive operators to address the problem, and surveying and reporting to county and state officials the damage to the coral reef from the Hillsboro Inlet Dredging Project. Stephen was a Board Member of the Broward Maritime Museum, member of the Marine Archaeological Council, founding partner of and Technical Advisory Committee Member to the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI), and past president of the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society.
Stephen was very fond of akitas, owning the dog breed for over 40 years and breeding puppies under the house name "Attis Akitas." Dancing with his sisters and singing with his family delighted him. He experienced "trips of a lifetime", travelling with his father and uncles to England, with his mother to Iceland, Norway, Scotland, Netherlands, Panama, Costa Rica and Aruba and with his fiancée to Brazil.
Like some of the brightest minds in history, Stephen was diagnosed with dyslexia at a very early age. He worked tirelessly to compensate for this deficit and excelled at everything he set his mind to.
Stephen chose to live a clean and sober life and was very active and respected in the recovery community for over 34 years, helping many hundreds of addicts and alcoholics get sober. His life serves as a shining example of a life in recovery well-lived. Stephen freely shared his experience, strength and hope with all who were seeking recovery.
Whether a family member, friend, coworker, scuba diver, or stranger, Stephen profoundly influenced everyone he met. He was a resplendent beacon on how to live life to the fullest. Constantly encouraging those he loved to be "happy, joyous and free", he will be greatly missed.
Please join us for a Visitation and Celebration of Stephen's life on Sunday, April 14th from 4 to 7 PM at Horizon Funeral & Cremation Services located at 4650 N. Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point, 33064. We can all share our stories and rejoice in his life well-lived. Mass at St. Coleman's Catholic Church located at 1200 S. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, 33062 on Monday, April 15th at 11 AM. Burial will follow at Forest Lawn Cemetery North.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Stephen's 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, Vone Research, for continued work in preservation of Florida's oceanic resources and maritime history.
Online condolences may be made at: www.HorizonFuneralCremation.com
Stephen was a great guy. He was always trying to help others, and his passion for the ocean was amazing. Sending prayers and condolences to his family and his lovely fiancée Jane. Stephen truly met the love of his life, and he will be missed by many.
Remembering sharing laughter and fun experiences traveling to Iceland Norway Amsterdam and Scotland with Stephen. He was a very special man in so many ways; compassion, warmth, empathy just to name a few. He will be missed.
Dear family and loved ones,
Stephen has provided support and care to all in his life and I was no exception. He taught my teenage son how to scuba dive in a safe way once he was certified..it was calming to a nervous mom.
we both were puppeteers with "Kids on the block" in the public schools, but when I myself ended up in a wheelchair, he helped me to continue while ill.
He was a mentor to many including me with CWA 3104 guiding so many of us. He could
be stoic and serious, but also provided comic relief.
He answered my call at 2am after there was an accident in the hospital that nearly was my undoing. He and his wife came to my home and guided me through the night. Definition of a friend: is: someone you can call for help at 2am.
We loved you then, we love you still. Be at peace, beautiful soul.
John and Gay Kranick
Wake And Celebration Of Life
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