Harold O. Stephenson, 74, passed away December 24, 2023. His last days were filled with visits from loving family and friends who stopped by to share their praise and admiration for this talented and ever optimistic man. There will be no service.
Born in Ross, California, two-year-old Harold and his parents moved to Bonners Ferry, where Harold’s father Edgar owned and operated Valley Studio Photography. Growing up in a studio, Harold developed a passion for photography and artwork. There was never enough time in a day for all of Harold’s interests where he exceled in woodworking, gardening, car building and business.
Salutatorian of his Bonners Ferry High School class, Harold went on to the University of Idaho, where he obtained a degree in business, paying for his education by fire fighting for the U.S. Forest Service summers. Following college, Harold worked as the Bonners Ferry Safeway produce manager for seven years.
On December 30, 1978, he married his personal cheerleader, Liz. They were blessed with a blended family of four sons. Over the years, the family created priceless memories on their 40-acre farm on Trail Creek at Naples and later at their current residence on Greenhorn Mountain. Harold’s craftsmanship and creativity is evident in both houses they called home.
In 1987, the Paint Bucket in Sandpoint became the family’s focus for the next 36-years. When the business changed hands in 2020, unable to sit idle, Harold went to work on their Pine Street “project house,” a structure to the east of the Paint Bucket that would someday be their town retirement home. The beautiful workmanship of the project was halted in January 2023 when Harold and Liz climbed back in the driver’s seat of the Paint Bucket to perform their magic and re-build the business they had worked so hard to create.
Miller Paint of Portland, recognizing a valuable enterprise, purchased the re-vamped Paint Bucket business contingent on Harold signing a consultant agreement. The agreement ran through October 13, 2023, and on that day, Harold locked up at 5 p.m. and walked out as always in a Hawaiian shirt and a smile on his face.
Harold was known for his willingness to help the community and to provide guidance on any painting or woodworking project. He was highly admired for his comprehensive knowledge and boundless energy for creating, solving and restoring. It didn’t matter if you purchased his products, he enjoyed hearing about other’s projects and freely shared instruction that could assist others.
But his favorite words of advice that he often offered were “have fun!”
Harold is survived by his wife Liz, sons Ryan Stephenson, Brian Hadley, Randy Hadley and John Stephenson, sister Linda (Steve) Casey, sisters-in-law Virginia Woodward, Barb Fournier and Bev (Andy) Kee, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandson.