KULA, Hawaii —
Stephen Kreider died July 23 at his home in Kula on the island of Maui, Hawaii. He had been diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer 10 months prior to his death.
Stephen was born in Goshen, Ind., Sept. 20, 1948, the third child of Carl and Evelyn Burkholder Kreider. At the age of 3, he moved with the Kreider family to the outskirts of Tokyo where he attended a Japanese school. Returning to Goshen at age 8, he attended Parkside School, graduated from Goshen High School and Goshen College, and in 1977 earned a master of fine arts degree in photography from Indiana University, Bloomington. As a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, he served at the New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, Mass.
In 1971, he married Gretchen Fisher, whom he met at Goshen College.
From 1978 to 1980, Stephen and Gretchen worked and mediated at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Pune, India, and were commune members at Rajneeshpuram in Oregon. In 1985, they moved to Hawaii, where they lived first on the Big Island of Hawaii, then on the island of Kauai, and after 1995, on Maui.
Stephen loved the ocean, swimming and kayaking, trekking in the Himalayas and hiking in Hawaii. He was a committed cyclist. Twice, in August 2011 and August 2012, he raced the Cycle to the Sun, from sea level to the 10,000-foot summit at Haleakala National Park, Maui. Between 2000 and 2006, Stephen served on the board of the Haleakala Waldorf School, which he valued because of its commitment to the freedom of the child.
At all times, Stephen was an artist and was intensely musical. His band, The Backdoor Men, made a great stir at Goshen College during the late 1960s. In Hawaii, Stephen loved Hawaiian music; he mastered the ukulele and loved to sing with his daughters. He also played the Hawaiian steel guitar, which he studied with the renowned Jerry Byrd.
Stephen surrounded himself with art in many forms. He loved landscape gardening, photography and music. In his junior year at International Christian University, Tokyo, he studied Japanese archaeology and aesthetics, which affected him profoundly. For 25 years, he owned Avanti Painting Inc., contracting primarily painting of hotels, condominiums and commercial buildings. Together, he and Gretchen Fisher developed their acreage into a secluded place of great beauty.
He is survived by his wife, Gretchen Fisher, Kula, Maui; his daughters, Tessa Fisher Kreider and Zena Fisher Kreider, both of Kula; his mother, Evelyn Burkholder Kreider, Goshen; his brothers, Alan Kreider, Elkhart, Ind., and Thomas Kreider, Indianapolis, Ind.; his sister, Rebecca Pries, Cambridge, Mass.; and six nieces and nephews.
A memorial gathering will take place Sept. 22 at their home, Nahenahe Homestead, on Maui. A memorial gathering for family and close friends will take place at a later date in Goshen.