Music Association of California Community Colleges

Music Association California Community College Tribute:
Stephen Ray Likens (1949 – 2018)

It is not everyday that one is fortunate to meet a person who captivates a room with an enveloping smile, twinkling eyes, charm and wit like no other.  Steve Likens was such a man, who possessed a talent that included singing, playing the piano, trumpet and flugelhorn. Being the General Manager of Fields Pianos in southern California, Steve was the one to represent the Steinway Corporation as a vendor for the Music Association California Community College (MACCC) conferences.

Steve was born in Warsaw, Indiana on March 10, 1949 and grew up on a farm in Pierceton. Even though he was active in 4-H and sports, it was music that was to be his life. He graduated in music from Manchester College and went on to teach and perform at several levels in Fort Wayne. Being a gifted musician, his first performance was singing for a radio station at age three, and taking piano lessons at age eight.  As his music blossomed, he began playing trumpet in jazz and symphonic bands. Later, Steve performed back up for several famous musicians, Sonny & Cher, and Bee Gees among others. He also worked for cable networks as Showtime and HBO, which included films and music industries.

Even though MACCC was acquainted through Steve’s expertise as a vendor, his dedication to music and education at all levels was very evident.  When the Steinway Reception was introduced to attendees at conferences, it was Steve who sat in to play the piano, and to sing with fellow colleagues. As the years progressed, Steve started bringing his trumpet and the rest is history. 

After a courageous battle for seven-months with glioblastoma, Steve passed away on February 2, 2018 at the age of 68.  His wife, Elsa, and three daughters, Meegan, Natalie and Jackie, survive Steve.

Steve’s infectious laughter, a keen sense of humor, and superb musical talent was treasured and will be greatly missed by many.  Steve Likens was a gracious, caring individual that reflected the joy and beauty of living, which was evident in his love of life and music. In his memory, the MACCC Executive Board has approved the “Steve Likens MACCC Scholarship” for students.

Written by Chaumonde Porterfield-Pyatt, MACCC Executive Board

July 23, 2018


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