Get to Know: Steve Phelan

March 2023 | Written by Maribeth Griessel

      Gashland has recently ordained its newest deacon, a gentleman with quite an interesting background. If you need someone to operate printing presses, he’s your man; should you require assistance with digital printing, give him a holler; perhaps you need help with shipping issues, or just about anything related to the printing industry, look no further.

      Steve Phelan is currently retired, following 30 years employed in just about every aspect of the printing business, including on the management end.  He found this field to be interesting and rewarding, but admitted there were difficult situations as well. His most unpleasant experiences were related to having a “bad boss”, which happened many times over the years when a supervisor flaunted the attitude of “I’m the boss, so I’m always right!” We’ve all been there.

      Mr. Phelan was born and raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. His parents are both deceased, his father living to age 82 and his mother to 93. His family included five boys and two girls. The eldest, sister Juanita, is a 70 year old retiree living in Stillwater, OK. Second sister Jane, 64, and her husband are both retired and reside in Dewey, OK. Oldest brother, John, is a 69 year old resident of Atlanta, GA, also retired, along with his wife. Steve lost his brother, Jim, at 64 years of age. Next brother, Mike, is 62, living and working in Houston, TX, in hotel management. Youngest is 57 year old Patrick, employed in the tourism industry in Palm Springs, CA.

       Growing up, Steve attended St. John’s Catholic Church.  Following his graduation from Bartlesville College High School (that’s right, College High School!  He explained that he believes his high school had at one time been a junior college, then converted to a secondary school), he attended Tulsa University, studying accounting.  While in college he worked at Kinko’s, thus beginning his lifelong occupation in the printing field.  He has lived and worked in 7 different states, including 17 years in Dallas, TX.

      During 7th grade he met a special young lady named Jenny.  Fast forward through many years….Steve decided to try to locate some of his school friends, “I sent out friend requests on Facebook to 10 classmates and Jenny was the first to accept my request.  And next October we will celebrate our 10th anniversary!”  Not sure if he reconnected with any other long-ago friends, but Jenny was the one that counted.  He happily step-parents Jenny’s daughter, Kayla, living in Bowling Green, KY, and son, Keith of Eugene, OR.

      The Phelans have been members of Gashland for approximately 9 years.  Steve, having been raised Catholic, and Jenny as a Presbyterian, they visited other churches before, after just one worship service here, they both instantly agreed this would be their church home.  In the autumn of 2021 Larry Anderson suggested Steve to become a deacon.  However, having recently lost his brother, and facing other family responsibilities, he was unable to follow through at that time.  Pastor Ritchey Cable understood and delayed the process of Steve’s becoming a deacon until July of 2022, when he invited him to attend deacon meetings.  And in February of this year he was ordained to this position.

      Serving on the mow team half the year and the coffee team monthly keeps him busy.  The Phelans help serve during coffee time on second Sundays, attending the early worship service those weeks.  Otherwise, they can be found in the 11:00 service.  As a deacon, Steve has chosen to join the Mercy Team.  “I just like to help others.  My folks were like that, so it just came naturally to me, wanting to help people.  I have a quote that I like a lot, ‘Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.’ ” He has recently completed reading through the Bible, and shared that the gospels of Matthew and John are among his favorite books.

      Steve Phelan is a man of many interests, including hiking and maintaining his baseball and football card collections.  But probably his keenest interest is fantasy sports, explaining, “I’ve been in fantasy football with 2 other guys for close to 25 years.  We draft players and get points off of their performance.  It’s a very competitive league!  I have Mahomes, Kelce, Butker, Pacheco and Bolton on my team!”

      As a self-described funny person, Steve enjoys comedy movies, such as “Groundhog Day.”  But he’s also a Clint Eastwood fan, mentioning “Gran Torino” as a favorite. The Phelans are pet parents to Jack, a rescued Greencheek Conure (a form of parrot) that they adopted 3 ½ years ago when he was about a year old.

      This couple enjoys travel, with the Smoky Mountains a choice destination.  They also loved visiting the Grand Canyon and would very much like to go to Niagara Falls.  When asked about baby – make that bird – sitters for Jack when they travel, Steve said they have a trip coming up in a couple of months and plan to take him with them.  Wonder what kind of backseat driver he will be?

      Though he considers himself a comedian, Steve has never actually done any stand up comedy, “But I would do it if I ever have the chance!  However, I do have a serious side to me, though I’m hardly ever serious here.  I will go out of my way to help others.  I like to try to bring people up when they are down.”