Stephanie Ann Kuells went to be with our angels on Wednesday, Feb. 20. She was born on Aug. 3, 1988, to Jennifer and Keith Kuells at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. This happened to be her father’s 30th birthday. What a beautiful gift! Stephanie had many challenges in her short life, but she tackled each one with determination, beauty and grace.
Stephanie arrived in Phoenix with her parents and younger brother, John, in December 1992 at the age of 4. Her claim to fame in kindergarten was she had lived in five states by the time she moved here; three of them before she was 1. She made an immediate best friend in M.E. Griesedieck, who lived across the street and they remained close for the rest of her life.
While Stephanie may have been a small little thing, she made a mighty big impression. Although she developed epilepsy at the age of 14, she did not let it deter her from experiencing life to the fullest. She had a thirst for adventure and loved traveling with her family as well as embarking on her own unique excursions.
Stephanie took advantage of opportunities to visit numerous destinations from Maui to Alaska to Washington, D.C. Her dream trip to Europe finally came true last summer as part of a study abroad program in London, which allowed her to visit Paris and family in The Netherlands.
She attended Ahwatukee Foothills schools including Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary, Kyrene Altadeña Middle School and Horizon Honors High School. While in school she focused her energies on dance (participating in the Arizona Ballet’s Nutcracker when she was 6), Girl Scouts, piano, volleyball and cheer.
Her cheer squad won the state championship her junior year. The only state champion in the family! She was also honored by her peers and teachers by being selected as a princess at her junior prom.
She was passionate about helping others, evident through her contributions to Special Olympics and raising epilepsy awareness. Children loved her and she aspired to devote her life to helping them succeed. She brought joy to others through her scrapbooking, painting, and contagious smile.
An avid Arizona State University Sun Devil, she loved attending football games and tailgating with friends and family. She loved the sibling rivalry with her brother, a University of Arizona Wildcat, and the Territorial Cup was always a favorite.
She graduated in the summer of 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with emphasis in elementary education and health and wellness.
Stephanie is dearly missed by all who knew her. She has an amazing group of friends who have supported her over the years. She will be remembered in a candlelight vigil at the Victory Bell at the south entrance to Sun Devil Stadium starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1. A celebration of her life will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at Cornerstone Church, 1595 S. Alma School Road in Chandler.