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Edmund D. Stevens Jr., chairman of independent insurance agency Sept. 14, 1922 -- April 25, 2007

Edmund D. Stevens Jr., chairman emeritus of one of Buffalo's oldest independent insurance agencies, died Wednesday after a lengthy illness. He was 84.

Born in Buffalo to a family whose roots in Western New York date to the early 1800s, Mr. Stevens was a lifelong resident of the area and spent summers in Point Abino, Ont.

A graduate of Kenmore High School, he graduated from the University of Buffalo School of Business Administration in 1947 with honors. He received his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters designation in 1958 and a diploma in risk management from the Insurance Institute of America in 1968.

Mr. Stevens served the Army in the Infantry during World War II. He talked little about those experiences until he shared his disdain for war with his grandchildren.

Upon discharge from the Army in 1946, he joined Edmund D. Stevens Inc. on a part-time basis while completing college work and joined full time upon graduation. He was elected president of the agency in 1961 and retired to chairman emeritus in 1989. He served on several local, regional and national insurance company producer advisory councils.

Mr. Stevens was a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Western New York, Better Business Bureau, Independent Insurance Agents Association of Western New York and the National Association of Insurance Agents. He served as president of the Independent Insurance Agents Association in 1970. He was a past president of the Mid-Day Club. He was a member of the boards of directors of Buffalo Goodwill Industries, Wheel Chair Home, Schofield Residence, Saint Andrews Presbyterian Homes Advisory Council, Amherst Saxophone Quartet and the Rotary Club of Buffalo, where he was twice named a Paul Harris Fellow.

He was a member of the board of directors and served as secretary of the Marine Trades Association.

Mr. Stevens was an avid skier, sailor and lover of music and theater. He was a founder and past president of Sitzmarker Ski Club and member of the Buffalo Ski Club. A 60-year member and past Commodore of the Buffalo Canoe Club, he sailed and raced several boats, particularly his 30-foot Norwegian Knarr-class sloop, "Kayosk."

He was instrumental in establishing the Niagara Frontier Yacht Racing Association, which coincided with the early years of the Buffalo Harbor Sailing Club. He was a longtime member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Choir. Mr. Stevens was a past member of the Saturn Club and served on the faculty and as house chairman.

He also was a past president of the Board of Trustees of Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Men's Advisory Board of the Holloway Memorial Chapel, where he was a longtime pulpit chairman. He was a pastoral care volunteer at Benedict House since 1990.

He is survived by his wife of almost 57 years, the former Carol M. Argus; and three sons, Edmund D. III, Bruce A. and Peter M.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave.

[EVANS]

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