Alann Bradford Steen passed away on December 13, 2018, following a short, but heroic battle with cancer. He was surrounded by “his girls” who loved him more than words can express. Alann was born April 22, 1939, to Alfred F. Steen and Ann (Powell) Steen in New York, New York. His family moved to many locations throughout the United States, eventually settling in Hingham, Mass., where he graduated from high school. In 1958, Alann enlisted into the United States Marine Corps serving six years during the Cold War and was stationed in Japan and the United States. He was also briefly deployed outside of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Following the USMC, he and his young family moved to Arcata, Calif., where he earned a double master’s degree in journalism and English from Humboldt State University. He served as a reporter, and then editor, of the Arcata Union newspaper. He then established his own magazine called Pacifica and began teaching English and journalism at College of the Redwoods, Humboldt State University, and Chico State University.
In 1983, Alann moved to Beirut, Lebanon to teach English and journalism at Beirut University College. He spoke of playing baseball with his “fellow Marines” at the Marine base shortly before the barracks were bombed in October 1983. Nothing impacted him or his family harder than when terrorists entered the campus of BUC and abducted him and three colleagues. He was then held hostage for nearly five years. He made one escape attempt and was severely beaten with life-long medical consequences.
In December 1991, he was released and had the honor of lighting the National Christmas tree with fellow hostages and President George H.W. Bush. He then moved to Jackson, Mich., and to Casper, Wyo., where he continued to teach at Casper College.
In 2004, he retired and moved to Spokane. Despite his birth in New York, Alann was an insatiable Boston Red Sox fan. He loved all of his cats and dogs and his family warned visitors “if you bring your dog to his house, just know he will naughtily feed it people food.”
He enjoyed his stunning and lushly landscaped yard and planted dozens and dozens of trees, gently tendering them throughout their growth, often glaring at the deer and moose that also appreciated his efforts. Alann traveled the world and although he enjoyed the company of others, he always appreciated his solitude including his solo kayak journeys through Alaska and the Yukon Territory.
He has published articles in numerous publications including Outdoor Life where he told the story of confronting a grizzly bear and many years later, described his experiences while he was held, hostage.
Alann leaves behind his beautiful loving wife, Denise (Morris) Steen who said his humorous commentary made her laugh every single day. He had three daughters, Jackie Scardino, Becky Monday and Alia Brown. His dear friend and former wife, Marilyn Steen, was also with him when he passed away – as were these five doting women – “his girls” made sure he knew how very much he was loved. He also leaves behind three sons-in-law, Chris, Jim and Zach; four grandchildren, Jordan, Dillon, Samantha, and Wesley; two step-children, Brian and Robin; two step-granddaughters, Jessica and Taylor; siblings, Jane, Bruce and Craig; and countless other friends and family members who will always miss him. He is preceded in death by his wife, Alia’s mother, Virginia Rose Steen.
The family wishes to acknowledge the kindness and care from Sacred Heart and Holy Family Hospitals and the warmth, care and support from the north side Hospice House. In lieu of flowers, donations to Hospice of Spokane (specifically the north side Hospice House) would be appreciated. A funeral will be held Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, in Spokane, Wash.