HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – Stan Stephens, Montana Governor from 1989 to 1993 and partner in the ownership of KOJM and KPQX from 1965 to 1985, died in Kalispell on Saturday at the age of 91.
Former State Senator John Brenden (R-Scobey) joined Montana Talks on Monday morning to discuss Stephens’ legacy.
“He was almost too nice to be a Governor, or to be in politics. His demeanor, his witticism, his way with words, and the way he treated people so well. And probably one of the most well read persons I’ve known in my life. Just a great guy.”
Brenden says that Stephens had been experiening a decline in his health over the last several months. He says a ceremony on Friday will be a small and private event, per Stephens’ wishes.
Stephens was born in Calgary in 1929 but moved to Montana at the age of 19. Stephens began his career at KOJM in 1953 and later joined ownership of KOJM and KPQX in 1965.
While a partner at KOJM and KPQX, Stephens was instrumental in receiving an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on a scandal involving Montana’s Workers’ Compensation program.
Stephens spent 16 years representing the Havre area in the Montana legislature, including as President of the Senate from 1983 to 1985. When Stephens was elected Governor in 1988, he became the first Republican to hold the office in 20 years.
Montana’s current Governor, Republican Greg Gianforte, released a statement Monday afternoon on Stephen’s passing. Gianforte called Stephens a “dedicated public servant,” and added that “his legacy and contributions to our state will endure.”
This post has been updated