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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saying Farewell to One of Our Own

Lewiston Tribune, Lewiston, Idaho

Stephen Arthur Bly, 66, of Winchester, Idaho, passed away June 9, 2011, at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, after a five year battle with prostate cancer.

Steve was born August 17, 1944, to Arthur Worthington Bly and Alice Wilson Bly, at Visalia, California. He had one sibling, sister Judith Bly Walston who lives at the family homestead in Ivanhoe, California. He was raised on the family farm in Ivanhoe and worked for many years with both his father and for a time with his uncle M. J. ‘Buster’ Allen of Allen Farms in Coalinga, California.

He met his wife, Janet Chester, at Redwood High School, Visalia, California, both in Class of 1962. They married June 14, 1963, and raised three sons, Russell Stuart, Michael Stephen and Aaron Timothy.

He graduated summa cum laude in Philosophy from Fresno State University. He left farming to pursue a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and was ordained in the UPCUSA Presbyterian Church. He served as pastor of Woodlake (CA) Presbyterian Church, Fillmore (CA) Bible Church and more than twenty years at Winchester (ID) Community Church.

During his college years he helped run a political campaign for Assemblyman Gordon Duffy of Kings and Tulare Counties in California and served as his Administrative Assistant at the Sacramento capitol. In more recent years he was councilman for several terms for Winchester city and served as its mayor (1999 to 2007).

Steve authored and co-authored with his wife, Janet, numerous articles, short stories and cowboy poetry, plus more than 100 nonfiction and both contemporary and historical fiction for adults, teens and kids (8 to 17 years). Many of his novels have been recorded in audio form, as well as translated into languages such as Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Portuguese. In May his most recent historical western was released, Throw The Devil Off The Train. He was a winner and finalist for the prestigious Christy Award for Christian Western Novels, for his books The Long Trail Home, Last of the Texas Camp, The Outlaw’s Twin Sister and Picture Rock. A few days before his passing, he was dictating scenes for Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot.  His wife and sons hope to finish  this book for him, for 2012 release. He has received national positive reviews for his books, including in Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. Little Jimmy Dickens of the Grand Ole Opry once wrote Steve a personal note: “Your book (One Step Over The Border) is as good or better than Louis L’Amour’s.” He was an Active Member of the Western Writers of America. A complete list of his books can be found online at

Steve (many times with his wife, Janet) traveled all over the United States and parts of Canada to speak at couples and family conferences, men’s retreats and workshops at writers conferences, as well as for Young Writers Institute. In the 1990s he participated in Family Living Conferences sponsored by Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, in churches across the country with authors such as Gary Chapman, Kevin Leman, Ross Campbell, Harold Sala, Craig Massey, Mel Johnson, Greg Speck and Gary Ezzo.  He and his wife have mentored many students for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

His hobbies included playing golf and he was an avid collector of antique Winchesters with his partner, Jim Grueter, of Winchester. He and Jim wrote regular articles for The Big Show Journal, a magazine for gun collectors. A popular tourist and fan site has been the false front town he built at his Winchester home called Broken Arrow Crossing, named after his first Stuart Brannon novel, Hard Winter At Broken Crossing.

He is survived by his wife, Janet, of Winchester; son Russ Bly and wife Lois, of Lewiston; son Mike Bly and wife Michelle of Lewiston; son Aaron Bly and wife Rina of Lewiston; grandchildren Zachary Bly, Miranda Ross and husband Chris Ross, Keaton Bly, Deckard Bly, all of Lewiston; great-granddaughter, Alayah Ross of Lewiston; sister Judy Walston and husband Bill of Ivanhoe, California; nephew Stephen Walston and wife Natalie of Eureka, California; niece Stella Walston and nephew Porter Walston of Eureka, California; as well as numerous other nieces and nephews, cousins, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.

Graveside service will be Wednesday, June 15, 10:00 a.m., at Lewis Clark Memorial Gardens next to Mountain View Funeral Home in Lewiston. A Memorial and Celebration of Life Service will be held that same day, 3:00 p.m., at Winchester Community Church, corner of McBeth & Algoma Streets. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Winchester Community Church, c/o Brad Ailor, P. O. Box 422, Winchester, Idaho, 83555 or to a cancer research foundation of your choice. 

Our condolences to his wife, Janet,  and family. Our hearts and prayers are with you.

                              Stephen, we will meet again, our brother, in the presence of our Lord. 


  1. Janet, I am so sorry for your loss. May the Lord provide you and your familiy great comfort today and in the days ahead. You are in my prayers.

  2. I only "met" Stephen once, through email, a few years ago. Even there his kindness and enthusiasm were obvious.

    Praying for you, Janet.

  3. From hosting Stephen here on Novel Journey, I had the opportunity to email back and forth many times. He was always such a gentleman and Janet so gracious.

    He will be greatly missed here, but praise God we have the assurance we'll all see him again.

    Praying peace and comfort for you, Janet.

  4. I am Sooo feeling the loss of this great writer today. Our cyber-conversations were so full of humor and his love for words came through so vividly.
    I was blessed to have received the upcoming release of THROW THE DEVIL FROM THE TRAIN - for influencing and reviews as well as the interview he granted for my upcoming AUTUMN BLOG FEST on my blog. He was so gracious and generous to me.

    The article about the Chevy, Football game and your romance is one of my very favorite articles Stephen sent me just a few short weeks ago.
    I am amazed by this man's love for you and can only imagine how difficult this has been for you.
    May God see fit to wrap His loving arms of comfort and peace around you as you heal from the loss of this wonderful man.
    Praying for you.

  5. Thanks so much for posting his obituary. He will always be remembered via his novels. He will be missed. Condolences and prayers to his wife and family.
    ~Cecelia Dowdy~

  6. One of the really good guys in publishing. Generous, friendly, talented, hard-working, always willing to offer tips and advice to others. Steve, rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed. -Chip MacGregor

  7. One of the good guys--white hat kind.


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