Saturday, June 11, 2011

Christian Writing Community Mourns Loss of Beloved "Christian Cowboy"

On Thursday, June 9, 2011, Stephen Bly, devoted husband, loving father, beloved member of the Christian writing community, and dedicated pastor, entered eternal rest after a valiant fight against cancer. His strong faith is the legacy he has left behind for all of us through his books and through the myriad of lives he touched.

Stephen was born on August 17, 1944 in Ivanhoe, California. He married Janet Chester and together they had three sons: Russell, Michael, and Aaron. He served as pastor of Winchester Community Church in Winchester, Idaho. He graduated summa cum laude in Philosophy from California State University and earned his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Stephen and his wife, Janet, also mentored aspiring authors through Jerry B. Jenkin’s Christian Writers Guild.

Working with a wide variety of publishers throughout the years, Stephen wrote more than 100 books as well as hundreds of articles, poems, and short stories. His book, Long Trail Home (B&H) was awarded the prestigious Christy Award for western novel in 2002. He also had three other books that were Christy finalists: Picture Rock (Crossway), The Outlaw’s Twin Sister (Crossway), and Last of the Texas Camp (B&H).

Stephen impacted the world by living his faith. He was an inspiration to many. His deep faith, kindness, and wisdom, whether written in one of his books, spoken to a large audience at one of his many speaking engagements, as well as on numerous radio and television broadcasts, or conveyed as a friend, mentor, or pastor, touched the lives of many. His loss is deeply felt by all who knew and loved him.

“Anyone who ever knew Stephen, whether up close and personal or peripherally, long-time or briefly, was blessed. He truly was as genuinely nice as he seemed. Thank God for all those books he penned, because they'll serve as a conduit to his kindness and his talents for generations to come.” Award-winning Christian Author – Loree Lough

“I was amazed by his faith. He always found the positive in life. He was such a kind, caring man. His sense of humor such a delight and his advice full of wisdom. He enriched my life and I will miss him.” Fan– LisaMarie Bradshaw

“Stephen had a passion for the wild, wild west and a passion for Jesus in his stories! I appreciated that about his books!! He will be missed! I'm comforted to know he's rejoicing and celebrating his homecoming in heaven, embraced in the loving arms of Jesus!” Co-owner of The Book Club Network- Nora St. Laurent

“I first met Stephen and Janet Bly at a writers’ conference in Warm Beach , WA , decades ago. The amazing thing is that I really should have been a conferee, as I was so new to the writing industry. But because I was working in-house at Gospel Light/Regal Books at the time and because absolutely NO ONE else from the company was free to represent the company as a faculty member, I ended up going as such. Talk about feeling like a fish out of water! All the faculty members were warm and welcoming to this newbie, but Stephen and Janet made me feel especially included in their midst, and I’ve never forgotten that. Stephen defined the “Christian cowboy” as a gentleman and man of faith. He will be greatly missed.” Award-winning Christian Author – Kathi Macias

Please keep his wonderful wife, Janet, and the rest of his beloved family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of Stephen.