Obituary of Steven DeWolf
Some people do more living in a few years than others do in a lifetime. That was our Steve. He was the bright star that shines so brightly, it cannot burn too long.
Steven Kelley DeWolf died on Wednesday, April 25, at the age of 64 doing what he loved—flying his vintage SNJ/T-6 Texan airplane.
Bom in France to American bomber pilot Colonel James G. DeWolf and his journalist wife, Frances Ray DeWolf, he was the only star in their universe. The family lived many places around the world, loving the military life and all the travel it involved. They became a very tight-knit group of three.
Upon returning to the states, the DeWolfs moved to Dayton, Ohio where Steve’s father was stationed. Steve completed high school there in 1971 and following graduation accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He studied at the Academy until his eyesight ended his dream of becoming a Navy pilot. He transferred to the University of Texas after his sophomore year and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 with highest honors. That fall he entered the University of Texas School of Law, receiving his J.D. with honors in 1978. Steve practiced law in Houston before once again returning to school, this time at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, England. In 1983 he received an LL.M. with honors. Steve did nothing halfway.
He practiced law in Southern California until 1988 before returning to his beloved, adopted home state of Texas. In the early 1990s, he received his pilot’s license and bought a 1943 Stearman open cockpit biplane. He loved to fly and participated in many airshows. The Stearman had a special place in his heart as it was the type of plane his dad had trained in during WWII. He later bought a more advanced trainer, an SNJ/T-6 Texan, much to his wife’s chagrin.
In 1994 Steve married his soul mate and best friend, Tammy (Norris) DeWolf. They were very blessed and four years later added baby Jake.
Steve always loved traveling, and he found his match in Tammy. They journeyed many miles together and treasured every minute of it. He was fairly fluent in French and could make do in several other languages. With Steve as the family’s leader, they too became a very tight-knit group of three.
Steve, Tammy and Jake enjoyed frequent visits to their house on Lake Cypress Springs, where they could relax and spend time with Tammy’s parents (who often claimed Steve as their favorite child). Steve was incredibly active and adventurous. He and several of his close friends were in the midst of planning a Summer 2019 trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Steve’s ambition and drive was evident early on, as he earned Eagle Scout honors. He loved running, swimming, working out, playing tennis and cards. Steve ran with the bulls in Spain, swam open-water competitions, ran marathons and climbed mountains. He loved all things competitive. Whether playing Hearts with his 80 plus year-old mother or his six-year-old son, Steve showed no mercy.
That competitive side was balanced by a huge heart and generous spirit. He cried easily at movies or when his son achieved even the smallest accomplishment. He never met a dog he didn’t want to take home. He was a fine and honorable man, who was kind to all and treated everyone equally. He took wonderful care of his entire family and was a loyal, trusted and beloved friend. He was such a good father and husband—he did love his Jake and Tammy.
Steve was easy to recognize with his tousled hair, big blonde mustache and wire-rimmed glasses. His trademark bow ties, wildly colored, custom boots, Hawaiian shirts and flip flops always stood out in a crowd—as did Steve. What was in style didn’t matter to him. He knew what he liked, and he wore it.
In 2002 Steve started a new venture—a wind-farm development company named Wind Tex Energy. He was very proud of the fact that he developed more than 1,000 megawatts of wind energy, representing about five percent of the total wind energy produced in the entire state of Texas. Currently, Wind Tex has another 1,000 megawatts in active development. Steve co-wrote the first book on Texas wind energy law and taught a seminar on it for two years at the University of Texas School of Law as an adjunct professor. He was a legal commentator on Fox 4 “Good Day” for more than seven years and penned an editorial column entitled “The Moderate Minute” for the Mount Vernon Optic-Herald.
With everything else he managed to achieve, Steve still found time to form his own law firm in 2013. He always loved the practice of law—it was yet another outlet for that competitive nature. Steve was a member of the State Bar of Texas and was frequently recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer.
He was a voracious reader and always wanted to write fiction. True to form, Steve’s first novel, “Dead Stick,” was released in 2017. He was in communication with a screenwriter working on a movie based on the book.
Steve served on the boards of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, The Shelton School of Dallas and the Tom Landry Center.
He is survived by his wife, Tammy; son, Jake; his in-laws, Rex and Barbara Norris of Mount Vernon, Texas; his brother-in-law, Randy Norris of Dallas; nieces, Riley and Jett Norris; and several cousins. His beloved labs, Shaffer and Molly, also survive him. He is preceded in death by his parents Col. James and Frances DeWolf.
If each of you who knew him would do one small act of kindness in his honor, he would be so proud. In lieu of flowers, we would ask that you donate to the North Texas Food Bank, Dallas Companion Animal Project or Cavanaugh Flight Museum. They were three of his favorite organizations.
A celebration of a life well lived will be held at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, 4572 Claire Chennault Street, Addison, on Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m. He would be honored with your presence.