Bastian, Stephen

Bastian, Stephen Marc "Steve"

A booming "Steve Bastian, damn glad to meet you!" and a hearty handshake is how friends were introduced to Stephen Marc Bastian, born on June 23, 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri, to his beloved mother Mary Elizabeth "Bettie" and Clyde Bastian. During his childhood, a lifelong fascination with aviation began. He graduated from Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, N.J., class of 1970. As a young man, Steve enjoyed racing around in his Corvette and raising hell before he was told to "settle down" and "get a real job". He chose to be a fighter pilot, call sign "Tin Man". Stephen began a distinguished career in the United States Air Force in 1973. He graduated from Prince George's College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and continued to pursue further degrees and certificates for the rest of his life. He flew F-4 Phantoms and F-16s with the 89th Tactical Fighter Squadron, C-141s and C-5s with the 89th Airlift Squadron, 445th Airlift Wing at Wright Patterson. Above all, Steve considered his time flying F-16s as the happiest time of his life. He flew planes to every continent, including deployments to Germany, Iceland, Puerto Rico, Denmark, New Zealand, and ten missions in support of Operation Deep Freeze to McMurdo Station in Antartica. During Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom he flew numerous Medevac missions from Iraq and Afghanistan. Stephen continued to fly worldwide until he retired with honors as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2008. Steve enjoyed absorbing all things military history, reading Tolkien, his classic convertibles, Simon & Garfunkel, puns and bad dad jokes ("You can use that if you want!"), spoiling his grandkids, any excuse for fireworks and explosives, Halloween, and embarrassing his children with terrible outfits while mowing the lawn. Steve went to "the great airplane boneyard in the sky" on December 14, 2023. At his passing, he was surrounded by his family, his wife of forty years, Ann; his sons Stephen and Robert; Robert's sons Jacob and Jaxson; his daughter Amy and her husband Jason, whom Steve considered his third son; his grandsons Augustus and Aurelian, and his beloved "favorite granddaughter" Aurora; and Steve's sixth grandchild who he will meet in spirit, due on his birthday in 2024. Despite his wishes, he was not able to be buried like a Pharaoh in one of his Corvettes with all of his earthly riches (sorry Dad, we did ask), so Stephen will rest at the end of the runway he landed on countless times after a private family memorial. He will continue to be deeply loved and forever missed. In lieu of flowers, please kick back, relax, put on a WWII documentary, have a beer and toast Steve's memory. After all, pilots never die, they just fly higher. As Steve was fond of saying: "To quote Jimmy Doolittle: 'I could never be so lucky again.'"

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