Stephen Arthur Bakita, 81, passed away peacefully on May 16, 2019, at his home in Gaylord, Michigan. Steve was born April 13, 1938, in Elsie, Michigan, the son of Mildred (Loznak) and Steven Bakita.
He graduated from Elsie High School in 1956 and Central Michigan University in 1960, with a Bachelor’s degree. He followed with a Master’s in School Administration, also from CMU, and did further graduate work at Michigan State University.
On Sept. 12, 1959, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Bates. They began their education careers in Stanton, Michigan. While teaching at Pewamo-Westphalia Public School, he became their first head football coach starting the Pirates gridiron program in 1961. He then turned to administration and was principal at Sheridan Road School in Lansing before becoming an educational consultant for Shiawassee and Clinton Counties. In 1966, he became assistant Superintendent for St. Johns Public School and retired as Superintendent in 1997, ending a 37 year career in education. The high light of his career was over-seeing the multi-million dollar bond issue for building and modernizing the St. Johns School system before he retired.
After retiring, they moved to their cottage at Higgins Lake and he worked part-time as a school consultant for Clark Construction for several years. In his retirement, he continued to enjoy golf, skiing, biking, boating, traveling and attending grandchildren activities; eventually spending winter months in Florida.
He was an avid sports fan, as both a participant and spectator, being a passionate fan of the Chippewas and Spartans. He particularly enjoyed golf (both playing and instructing) and was the recipient of 5 holes-in-one, all at different courses.
Most of all, Steve cherished time spent with family, always involved in his children’s, grandchildren’s, and now great grandchildren’s extra-curricular activities, as well as their academics. He took great pride in their accomplishments, always encouraging them to work hard and do their best. He was extremely proud of all of them.
He was a member of: St. Johns J.C’s., St. Johns Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Clinton Co. (Chairman), St. Johns Rotary Club (President), Clinton Co. Country Club, Life member of MEA and MASA. He was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and other civic projects.
He lives on through the family that he loved so dearly: spouse, Dorothy, Gaylord, MI; son, Todd (Lisa) Bakita, Bellbrook, OH; daughter, Dawn (Dr. Robert) Mee, Gaylord, MI; grandchildren: Ryan (Kristin) Bakita, Westerville, OH; Allyson (Matthew) Geis, Kettering, OH; Erica (Troy) Hart, Hudsonville, MI; Erin (Jacob) Mallekoote, Golden, CO; Alex Mee, Hudsonville, MI. Also, 5 great grandchildren: Noah and Hannah Geis, Melanie and Madelyn Hart and Connor Bakita. Steve is also survived by brother, Richard (Sue) Bakita, Rockford, MI; sister, Jeanne (James) Butler, St. Johns, MI., several nieces and nephews.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Mary Ann and brother-in-law, Gerald Passmore; and brother, Thomas Bakita.
He was a brain donor to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, Boston University, Boston, Mass. Cremation has taken place and family graveside services will be held. Interment will be at the Ford Cemetery, Elsie, Michigan.
A Celebration of his Life will take place at The Emerald Golf Course, St. Johns, from 11:30 – 2:30 on June 30.
For those wishing to make a contribution in his memory, the family is suggesting: St. Johns Public Schools Foundation for Excellence, Att: Steve Bakita Vocational Scholarship Fund, PO Box 96, St. Johns, MI., 48879 or Hospice of Michigan, Donation Processing Center, 145 N. State Ave., Alpena, MI 49707-2835
Family is being served by Gaylord Community Funeral Home, Gaylord, Michigan.
St. Johns Public Schools Foundation for Excellence; Steve Bakita Vocational Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 96, St. Johns MI 48879
Hospice of Michigan
145 N. State Avenue, Alpena MI 49707