James Stephenson Jr.

Obituary of James Mitchell Stephenson Jr.

James Mitchell Stephenson Jr. age 83 of Lockport. Beloved husband of the late Shirley Stephenson nee Smith. Loving father of Michael Elliott (Ana Ortega) Stephenson, Patricia Catherine (Paul Tremmel) Stephenson, and James Mitchell (Sally) Stephenson III. Dear grandfather of Elliott, Emmett, Esme, Deanna, Madelyn, Katherine, and Wesley. Jim was the founder (with Bob Cleary), president and CEO of Kinetic Systems Corporation 1971-1999. Prior to this, he received BSEE and MSEE degrees from Purdue University and USC respectively and worked at Hughes Aircraft, Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi Lab through the 1960s. While his professional contributions were very important to him, music was his passion. He began taking piano lessons when he was eight and met his wife, Shirley when he was nineteen through giving her organ lessons. Beginning in his high school senior year he played piano in local big bands, leading the Jimmy Stephenson Swing Band while at JJC and co-directing the Freddie Mitchell Swing Band while at Purdue (1957-59). From age fourteen until last June he was organist, pianist, and choir director at various intervals at The First Congregational Church in Lockport. After achieving his EE degrees, he applied his knowledge to create two cutting-edge electronic musical instruments. With friends Bob Cleary and Darrell Strong, he designed and constructed a three manual electronic organ from scratch that has been in use at the First Congregational Church in Lockport since Easter Sunday 1966. In the early 1980s, he founded Kinetic Sound Corporation (an outgrowth of Kinetic Systems), which created the Prism synthesizer. Jim was committed to many community causes, serving on the LTHS Board (1974-85), the Board at Silver Cross (1980-2002), and many committees at his church. He also had numerous hobbies: jeeps, acoustics, jigsaw puzzles, train sets, photography, pipe organs... Through his passionate application of his many interests and involvement in community he profoundly influenced many lives and made countless friends. He will be deeply missed. A Life Celebration will be held at a later date. During this time of social distancing it is imperative to share your support at www.funerals.pro, there you can share a memory, a story, or even a picture. Any act of kindness will be greatly appreciated or call 847.537.6600.
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