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Stephen M. DeLay, 72

Stephen M. DeLay of Westport died suddenly on July 26 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 72.

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Steve DeLay: avid yachtsman. Contributed phone

Born in Santa Monica, California on Sept. 14, 1945, he grew up living in Davenport, Iowa; Louisville, Kentucky; Ossining, New York and Volga, South Dakota where he spent many summers on the farm with his beloved grandfather, Harry.

As a young man, he learned to fly a J3 Cub and started a business in portrait photography. He combined his love for flying and photography when he owned his Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, N3341M, and flew for the college skydiving team, photographing their activities while attending South Dakota State University in Brookings. He earned his Master’s degree in printing management from SDSU.

After earning his Master’s, he joined RR Donnelley & Sons Co. where he spent 18 years as a sales representative and then vice president of sales in Chicago and New York.

He was particularly adept at identifying talent. Steve often recognized skills in people and knew how to nurture their strengths. He joined Robert Maxwell in 1988 and helped create Maxwell Communications. When Quebecor World acquired Maxwell, Steve was appointed senior vice president of catalogs and held that position until his retirement in 1996.

His days as an avid yachtsman began when he sailed on Lake Michigan with Buddy Melges. Wednesday night racing out of the Chicago Yacht Club and Mac Races from Chicago to Mackinac, Michigan were highlights of the season.

When Steve moved to Connecticut, he continued to sail, crewing on races from Newport to Bermuda, but moved to owning a power boat. He loved his Grand Banks trawler, Summer, and enjoyed cruising on Long Island sound with his family, meeting friends at ports from Westport to Maine.

He was a past-Commodore of Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club in Westport where he remained active until his death. SHYC members found in Steve a valuable resource of yachting knowledge, etiquette and traditions derived from his long standing membership of the New York Yacht Club. He was proud to pass his love of sailing on to his son, Stephen Jr.

Steve’s many interests included spending time with family and friends on Nantucket and woodworking, making tables for his home and for friends.

In addition to his love of flying, cars, motorcycles and boats, he was a certified master scuba diver and loved to ski and play tennis. He also spent time volunteering with United Way and Kiwanis.

Steve had a gift of being both debonair and charismatic yet down to earth and a little bit irreverent. He traveled extensively and was always interested in a great meal, but a good burger and a black and white malt was a favorite. He was loved by everyone, had a wicked sense of humor and he will be missed.

Steve is survived by his wife of 25 years, Kristine (Levandoski) DeLay and his son, Stephen M. DeLay Jr., 23 He was preceded in death by his mother, Bonnie Claire (Nelson) DeLay and father, Robert F. DeLay.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. at Saint Luke Parish, 49 Turkey Hill Road North. A reception will immediately follow at Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club, 6 Great Marsh Road.

In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution in Steve’s name to: Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 SE 1st St., Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131, Attention: In Memory of Stephen DeLay. Donations via phone: 1-800-473-4636.

To sign his online guestbook, please visit http://www.shaughnesseybanks.com.

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