Stevii (Stephanie-Jo Thompson) Graves passed away on April 22, 2022 at her home in Leesburg from a short, intense battle with pancreatic cancer.
Stevii entered this world on June 1st, 1946 to her proud parents Bill and Dorothy Thompson in in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Her late father was a Rear Admiral with the US Navy. His service brought the family to different countries, states, and nineteen different homes over the years. Including Guam, Iowa, California, Nebraska, Virginia, Newport, RI., and the Great Lakes. It was from these early travels that Stevii found her love of traveling, meeting new people and making new friends.
Stevii attended several High Schools, with Rogers High School, Newport Rhode Island being her home for her Junior and Senior years. As a Senior on April 14, 1964, Stevii was inducted into the Rhode Island Honor Society and she graduated with Honors from Rogers High School on June 8, 1964. On February 27, 1964 she received an acceptance letter from Marjorie Webster Junior College and on April 2, 1964 she received an acceptance letter from The George Washington University, Washington, DC. She subsequently chose the Marjorie Webster Junior College and graduated from Marjorie Webster with and Associate Arts Degree in 1966.
Stevii met her husband to be, Randy Graves, in April 1966 through an introduction from his cousin Marilyn. Randy was working for NASA’s Langley Research Center, and had just been accepted to Virginia Tech for his Masters in Engineering Degree. A mere 3 months later he proposed and they were married on August 20th, 1966. Stevii attended Hampton University, was inducted into the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society in March 1976, and earned her degree in Human Ecology Education graduating with honors in 1978. In 1975 while looking for things to do and more friends she attended a crafting festival in Hampton, VA. When she entered a greeter asked her what group she was there to see. Stevii had no idea, so she looked around and saw a big group of ladies in the back laughing and talking. She had no idea what craft they were doing so she asked, and the greeter said they’re quilters. Stevii immediately replied “that’s the group I want to join!” Thus, launching her quilting journey. In 1983 they moved to McLean and Stevii started working full-time for the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC of which her father was a founding member. Stevii was in charge of the Navy Log. The Navy Log is now the nation’s largest publicly available repository of Sea Service personnel. Stevii was awarded the Depart of the Navy’s Meritorious Public Service Award in 2000.
Over the years her achievements have been plentiful and varied. She became a very well respected and accomplished quilting judge, author and co-author on numerous quilting books, teacher, mentor, and friend. She was a past President of Visions Art Museum in San Diego where she also edited their first published book on their museum exhibitions, was a past President and board member of International Quilt Association, and a Board member of Southern CA Council of Quilt Guilds.
Stevii has been very active with Road to California Quilter’s Conference since the early 1990’s. She was the Judging Floor Coordinator and Faculty Talent Scout. Her quilts have been published in numerous books and she has been involved in making special quilts such as the Sesquicentennial California Quilt. Stevii was a Quilt judge and judged quilts for the International Quilt Association and Mancuso Quilt Festivals. She was a teacher on many quilting cruises including a special quilters cruise to Cuba. She was a fixture at Festival at Houston and could be found working as the needle guru in the Bohin booth. She has been a mentor to many people pushing them to believe in themselves and their work. She has changed the course of many people’s lives through her tireless work, support and friendship.
Stevii was also very much a family person. She even pulled her children and grandchildren into her quilting family bringing them to quilting shows in the US and Bali and teaching her grandchildren how to sew. She and Randy enjoyed longs trips and visits with her children and grandchildren and we all have fond memories of Stevii bringing joy and silliness to holiday dinners, family gatherings, and of course her snuggle worthy quilts that she made for all of us.
Stevii is survived by her husband of 55 years, Randy, her brother Craig, her brother Brian and his wife Chris, her eldest son Will and his wife Kathryn, her daughter Stefanie and husband Pat, her youngest son Braden and his wife Amanda, her 4 grandchildren Alex, Connor, Paige and Cooper, 2 step grand-children Kelsey and Melissa, nephews Jay, Jack and Zach and the many friends she has made throughout the years.