Shawn Leven

We’d like to express our deepest sympathies to the family of Brother Shawn Leven, who passed away on July 6, 2016 after a 13 month battle with vocal cord cancer. Shawn was the loving husband of Beth Leven and devoted father of Ryan and Allison.

Brother Leven was initiated into the fraternity at the Kappa Omicron chapter at (Southwest) Missouri State, and continued his involvement in the fraternity as an alum:

  • Director of the alumni chapter in 1988 (we had officers and several Directors on the board back then)
  • Presented a seminar at the Fall 1988 regional conference
  • SLAC VP of Membership from 1989-1990
  • SLAC President from 1990-1992
  • Community Service Chairman
  • Edited the SLAC newsletter in the early/mid 90s and again in the early/mid 2000s
  • Received his Silver Helmet Award at Career Prep Day 2013 (pictured here between Brothers Martin Zaegel and Jeanette Buie)


In the July edition of our newsletter, several brothers shared memories of Shawn –

Via Brian Krippner:

My first memory of Shawn is from a regional or area conference, I believe in the spring of 1988, which would have been his senior year at Southwest Missouri State. He was leading a session on recruiting. I’m pretty sure that he was the Senior Vice President for the Kappa Omicron chapter that year.

In retrospect, the SVP position was totally Shawn. He had a way of welcoming everyone he met, even if he was ribbing you about something. At the same time, he was ready to sell you on being a Deltasig, signing up for a great AT&T discount package, or supporting his Lou Fusz soccer club efforts in their various forms.

Lots of good things to say, but this gives you a flavor of the brother Shawn was to us.

– – – – –

Via Dan Watkins:

Shawn was on the five year college plan mainly because he did a year-long IT internship with the State of Missouri in ’86-87 – so he actually graduated in the spring of ’88. I didn’t transfer to SMSU until the fall of ’87 and that’s when I pledged (initiated in November of ’87).

I have lots of memories of Shawn…including that he was the first Deltasig I met who I didn’t know prior to joining the fraternity. A grade school bud of mine, and fellow KO, suggested I join DSP. The first person to contact me after I said I was interested, was Shawn.

– – – – –

Via Jane Spurgeon:

Shawn joined SLAC (not known as that until Mark Bentlage was President) upon his graduation and arrival from Springfield. I remember one of the first stories I ever heard Shawn tell, was that SWBell flew him from Springfield to STL to interview. In the hotel room, when he got dressed to interview at SWBell, he realized he didn’t bring any dress shoes. So he got ready, went shopping and went to the interview…that’s how he lived life. Move forward, hit an obstacle, remove the obstacle and just keep moving.

I think Shawn became the editor of the newsletter within six months of joining if not less. Shawn served in many different offices on the SLAC Executive Board. I was asked to be the DD when he was President, and I remember calling him and asking him if he’d be okay with that before accepting the appointment.

I probably met him the same time Brian did. It was at a Regional Conference – he came in a package deal with Dan Watkins and Joe Howard that weekend and I’m so glad that I did. Life takes us in so many different ways and over the past several years, I would have lunch with Shawn and two other brothers between Christmas and New Years. Even when I’ve lived out of St. Louis, this was a tradition that three or four of us shared every year. Shawn, Steve Loher and I would meet and catch up from the year. Most years, Mark Bentlage would join us as well. And even though it’s been many years since the parties that Dan Watkins and Shawn hosted sealed our friendship, that friendship never ceased. Shawn was a true Brother and friend to all.

– – – – –

Via Joe Howard:

I met Shawn in his SMSU dorm when his roommate became a pledge. Our KO chapter had such good reviews that Shawn decided to join. Lucky us.

Shawn’s energy and sheer hilarity were amazing to experience.

He hosted me several times when I came up to St. Louis while apartment hunting. The ‘Star Trek’ pizza parties were legendary. He was at warp speed all night long. The mornings came too quickly, but always with laughter and some place called ‘Jack-in- the-Box’ for breakfast.

I took him on a tour of the final assembly area at McDonnell Douglas when I worked there (I told security he was my “distant cousin, several times removed.”) He was beside himself with joy amongst all the fighter aircraft.

Holding the ladder as he climbed the altars at the Old Cathedral hanging Christmas lights was yet another adventure. We were treated in the rectory by an ancient Monsignor with Champagne and White Castles – something one must experience just to understand it all. That was one of many White Castle stories…

Twice we flew to the Republic of Texas and roared around Dallas, staying with a KO brother. Shawn liked flying with me, as I arranged upgrades for us. This was when we had big airplanes, big seats, and big drink carts. We had way too much fun. Running through the Tulsa airport is another story.

Yes, I’m the one who brought the cashew chicken from Springfield to Shawn and Beth’s wedding dinner.

His energy shined best when he talked of his wife and children.

For all the parties, trips, and adventures…I am a better person to have shared these delightful events with him.

To my wonderful and most entertaining friend…until we meet again.

– – – – –

Karen Stebelski went through many of the old alumni newsletters produced by Shawn, and found his final article from June 1996. (As so often happens, he was lured back in years later):

A few parting words…

This is my official last newsletter. After this issue, I will no longer act as editor, reporter, copy boy, layout artist, printer and all the other assorted tasks that I have undertaken since I published the April 1993 newsletter. (Egad! Has it been that long… no wonder Lou Grant lost his hair!)

But in all fairness, I had a good time doing the newsletter. Some times were more fun than others of course, but that’s life.

Much thanks to the Executive Committees, and various chairpersons, since 1993 for their help and article submissions, even though sometimes they may have been at the last minute and consist of only “a good time was had by all”. [How original]

Also a special thank you to my wife Beth, whose patience these past few years and help in stapling and stamping, have been wonderful.

That’s all folks… it’s been real.
Shawn Leven
Newsletter chairperson (Retired)

Thank you Brother Leven. The world is better because you dwelt upon it.

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