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Stephen Edward Chehi

May 17, 1924 — January 12, 2015

Stephen E. Chehi, 90, of Bethlehem passed away peacefully on January 12 at Kirkland Village in Bethlehem. He is the husband of Lucille (Betty) Chehi, who survives him.

Steve was born in Toledo, Ohio on May 17, 1924. He was the son of Hungarian immigrants Maria Sivak Csehi and Istvan Csehi. They were devoted parents who raised Steve and his brothers and sisters through the Depression years in Toledo in a tight-knit Hungarian neighborhood called Birmingham.

As a young boy, Steve was an avid reader and student. He had a remarkably diverse education: Birmingham School thru 8th grade; learning the Hungarian language, history and culture during six years of summer school at Birmingham's Hungarian Reformed Church; Waite High School in Toledo in 1940 as a high school freshman; the machine shop curriculum at Macomber Vocation High School from 1941-1943; and following WWII, mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo from 1946 to 1949.

Early employment during high school included night work as an apprentice tool and die maker. He learned how to operate every category of machine tool, lathes, milling machines, grinders and shapers, and developed expert knowledge about precision measuring instruments such as micrometers, gage blocks, and sine bars. Steve learned about metals and their heat treatment. As a skilled machinist, he produced the full range of products for the manufacture of the Norden Bomb Sight.

In 1943, Steve was inducted into the Army. During WWII, he received basic training at Ft. Benning Georgia, and college training in the Army Specialized Training Program at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He was assigned to combat in the 20th Armored Division, providing technical support for armored combat weapons, vehicle and instruments. He went through campaigns in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria.

Following 3 years of military service, Steve returned to Toledo, enrolled at the University of Toledo and joined the Packard Motor Co.'s aircraft engine division as a detail layout draftsman. This was followed by a positon as mechanical designer at the Navy's Ordinance Research Laboratories at Pennsylvania State University in State College, where he worked on silent submarine propeller designs and received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering in 1952.

In 1952, he joined Bethlehem Steel Corporation in its Loop management training program, which led to numerous sales, product development and management positions giving him broad involvement in all of Bethlehem's product lines and markets. He was awarded a U.S. patent for processing methods for specialty metals. He developed improved manufacturing practices for NASA's Titan IIIC rocket motor hardware and the Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle pressure hull.

He completed his 30-year career with Bethlehem Steel in 1982, as Manager of the Sales Engineering Division with corporate-wide responsibility for product development, introduction of new products, and marketing steel products to major customers, architects, designers and engineers in the construction, automotive and consumer durables industries.

After retiring from Bethlehem Steel, Steve continued his career for 10 years as a marketing consultant with clients in the U.S. and abroad, as well as Lehigh University. He was instrumental in conducting a marketing program for Galvalume sheet steel that generated over 100 million tons of product sales, a highly successful steel industry achievement. His clients included McGraw Hill on a publication commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge. He held memberships in numerous trade and engineering associations and professional societies, and board and executive committee positions with the American Society for Testing and Materials, American Iron and Steel Institute, and National Institute of Building Sciences.

Steve was a 32nd degree Mason; an active member of Christ Church UCC in Bethlehem where he served on the consistory and numerous committees; and for many years a Saucon Valley Country Club member. When not working professionally, he enjoyed reading, gardening, mechanics, vacationing in Stone Harbor, writing poems, following Penn State football and, most of all, spending time with his devoted wife and their children and grandchildren. Steve's efforts and enthusiasm for inspiring learning in his children and grandchildren have made all the difference, and he will be greatly missed.

Survivors: Wife of 59 years, Betty; son Mark and his wife Johanna of Greenville, DE and Durham, PA; son Robert and his wife Evelyn of Moorefield, WV; daughter Janet and her husband James Tillman of Blue Bell, PA; 4 grandchildren, Melissa of Blue Bell, Stephen of New York City, Ericka of Philadelphia, and Mary Kathryn of Washington D.C.; and numerous nephews and nieces in Toledo and elsewhere.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Christ Church UCC

Funeral HomeConnell Funeral Home, Inc.
245 East Broad St.
Bethlehem PA - 18018

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