Visionaries: William Stephens

William Stephens

A retired elementary school teacher and librarian who loved travel, the arts, bridge, and reading, Bill Stephens was also a quiet philanthropist whose generous bequest to amfAR and other nonprofits spoke of his passions and commitments. 

Born in 1929, Mr. Stephens attended Oakland schools as a child, later matriculated at San Francisco State University, and received his graduate credential as a librarian from San Jose State. Even after retirement, he continued his education work as a substitute teacher. After living a very active life in the Bay Area, Mr. Stephens died in Rome on May 27, 2010, during a tour of Europe.

“Bill had a giant heart, a sharp wit, and an irreverent sense of humor,” remembered his close friend and estate executor Thad Trela. He was an adventurous and curious traveler who once spent time on a Norwegian freighter and hitch-hiked across the U.S. on several occasions. And he was a staunch supporter of Bay Area arts organizations, volunteering with local theater, ballet, opera, symphony, and film groups. His other interests ranged from horse racing to bridge (he was a ranked player at the Gold Medal Gay Games in Sydney, Australia, in 2002).

“Bill Stephens’s selflessness and generosity will help amfAR expand our efforts to end the AIDS epidemic,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “We are proud to honor his memory and we are grateful for his legacy.” A William Stephens Memorial Research Grant has been named in his honor.

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