Celebration of Life: Myron Fuller Steves, Sr.

Myron Fuller Steves, Sr.
July 11, 1912 - August 29, 2015

Myron would tell you he received a lot of credit just for having lived a long time - he turned 103 on July 11th, 2015.

Myron had many talents and hobbies. Other than founding a successful insurance business, he was an award-winning whistler, and loved to sing and dance into his 90's. He dressed with style and had a bow tie for every occasion. He swam and did Pilates into his 100’s, and never stopped telling jokes. To our large family, he was our beloved and witty "Pop."

Myron was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1912. He studied history at Emory University, which he funded during the Great Depression by working at a library and a movie palace. He graduated in 1934 and began a career in insurance.

In 1938, Myron was transferred to New Orleans. He joined the Louisiana National Guard in one of the last mounted cavalry units. At the stables where his unit was based, Myron met Maria Luisa Benteen, who came from a military family and was a devoted horseback rider herself. Myron and Maria Luisa were married in 1940.

Myron wanted to pursue a military career; however, in 1940, he was seriously injured in a head-on car accident. A month later, he was discharged due to his injuries. Despite his efforts to serve after his recovery, he was rejected by all branches.

Myron took this setback in stride and continued his insurance career with an upbeat attitude. He and Maria Luisa transferred to Mobile, Alabama, in 1941 to open a new office for his company. They lived there for 10 years.

In Mobile, Myron discovered CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter), the professional designation of property and casualty insurance. By 1949, he passed all the examinations and received his designation at the Annual Conferment in Dallas. There he met people from Houston, which eventually resulted in a job offer to start a general agency in Houston. The family boarded the Sunset Limited in Mobile and arrived in Houston on a cold, bright sunshiny day in January 1951.

In 1955, he founded Myron F. Steves & Company with one employee and $10 in the bank.

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In 1961 Hurricane Carla severely strained the business, but Myron never gave up. Instead he forged ahead and did not dwell on the negative. Myron F. Steves & Company now has over 200 employees, offices across Texas, and has celebrated its 60th anniversary in business.

Myron was the last surviving founding member of the Houston Chapter of CPCU. He was president of the chapter in 1955. In 1998, Myron received the Standard Setter Award from the National Society of CPCU. Myron was also President of the Texas Surplus Lines Association in 1971. Myron was especially proud of one award from the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston; in 1988, he received their Outstanding Service Award, which is generally awarded to a retail agent, not a wholesale agent. Myron retired in 1989.

Myron won the rodeo whistling competition and was a ballroom dancer alongside his wife Maria Luisa. He was active with the Boy Scouts from 1949 to 1965 in various adult leadership roles. He was a lover of baseball and an avid Astros fan. He swam laps at The Briar Club and did Pilates twice a week, until he was 102.

In recent years, he thoroughly enjoyed researching family history, genealogy, and working with the Paul Carrington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was President of the Chapter in 2005 at age 93, and was the George Washington Distinguished Service Award honoree in 2010.

Myron and Maria Luisa were also active in the Little Bighorn Associates. Maria Luisa's grandfather, Captain Frederick William Benteen, was the Senior Captain of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and fought with Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

Myron enjoyed the beach. He swam laps at The Briar Club and exercised at the Pilates studio twice a week until he was 102.

To his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, Pop will always be remembered for his bow ties, witty puns, and whistling. He taught us how to work hard and dress sharp. When asked about his secret to longevity, he would typically reply, "Well, I haven't died yet."

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