June 4, 1959–January 21, 2015
We were deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Stephen A. Hales, founder of Hales Creative, in early 2015. Stephen was an incredible man, filled with goodness and a sincere drive to use his talents to serve his community. He is missed by those of us at Hales Creative, as well as many others in Utah Valley and throughout the world, whose lives he has touched.
Following are a few tributes from employees, colleagues, and friends of Stephen.
“On behalf of current and former employees of Hales Creative, I want to first express heart-felt condolences to Calli and all of Stephen’s family. We love this family. I have always admired the incredible, tender relationship Stephen and Calli have cultivated, and their thoughtful and deliberate efforts to raise their wonderful children. It has been a privilege to be a friend of this exemplary family.
“I’m so grateful for the blessing I have had to work with Stephen for the past 10 years. He has been an invaluable mentor and a dear friend. He was a talented designer, a skilled professional, and a brilliant advertising and strategy consultant. He had a constant drive to learn and improve. He valued quality design and advertising work, and generously trusted employees and colleagues in working with him to achieve it.
“As dedicated as he was to his business, teaching, and community service, above all, Stephen was completely devoted to the most important things in his life—his family and his faith. I am so grateful for his example and his pursuit of the things that are truly of greatest value.
“Stephen will be sorely missed. Such a great loss for this community. We hope to continue his legacy of dedication and excellence through the business he worked so hard to create.”
—Kelly Nield, principal/creative director, Hales Creative
"Working for Stephen has been such a joy and opportunity. He is one of those people who inspired me to be a better person. He always believed in me, appreciated me, and trusted me. Stephen led quietly, by example, with his uncompromising integrity. Even at the time of Spencer's death, he was an example of strength, optimism, and graciousness.
"To Calli and the family: If I'm ever dealt a hand even half as hard as yours, I can only hope to handle it with as much grace and dignity. God bless and comfort you all."
—Lucretia Harvey, former bookkeeper, Hales Creative
"As a young professional in the marketing industry often I find myself in a man-eat-man world. At Hales Creative that was very different. I remember Stephen being very encouraging and kind. He would always find the good in others even when they seemed to be at their worst. I will always remember Steve as not only a talented marketing professional but as a good man."
—Jeff Kohler, former account manager at Hales Creative
"Steve was my teacher, my boss, a fellow designer, and most importantly my friend. It was a blessing to get to know him and work along side him at SHC for 2+ years. I always felt like he valued me and my work. He was such an intelligent man, an incredible designer, and taught me a lot. I quickly realized from spending time with him that he had a quiet and witty sense of humor which I appreciated. He was positive and optimistic no matter the situation... With Steve things were always going to be OK. But one of the attributes I admired most was his kindness and the way he treated others. Everyone loved him and looked up to him. I believe it's because he treated everyone like a great friend. There aren't many people I've met in my life as kind as Stephen Hales. He will be missed."
—Jon Woidka, former designer at Hales Creative
"Those who knew Stephen will find, as I have, that he was greater than any words that might be used to describe him. He set the bar high for what we are capable of doing and becoming. He was gentle and kind. Trusting and forgiving. Insanely talented and perfectly humble. Completely without guile. And he was as good a man in business as he was in life. I will always miss the years I spent working with Stephen. He left an indelible impression on me at the beginning of my career. But it was his example in life that I treasure most. How lucky we were to know him."
—Matt Davis, former account manager at Hales Creative
"I had the privilege of working for Hales Creative for three and a half years. Knowing Steve and learning from his example was a treasured opportunity. He ran a successful, award-winning agency but always put family and faith first. I loved seeing how he would work with his children around him in the office in the afternoons after school. He never spoke ill of anyone and would always turn the other cheek when he or his business had been wronged. He used his talents to continuously seek out ways to add value and beauty to ideas and organizations dear to him.
"We have one of his beautiful gallery-quality prints of the LDS Nauvoo temple he gave me as a gift hanging in our home. I have treasured it. His familiar signature will always be a welcome reminder to be a better person. It's hard to say enough about how great of a man Steve was and how honored I feel to have known and worked with him. He truly was one of the most Christlike people I have ever known and his passing is a great loss."
—Brittany Ferreira, former office manager at Hales Creative
"It was an honor to work under Stephen. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities and confidence he gave me as a young graphic designer. Even though I was fresh out of college, he treated me as an equal and was genuinely interested in my thoughts and opinions. I always admired Stephen’s quite demeanor, sense of humor, and professional confidence. I can credit much of the success I’ve had in my career to my time working under Stephen. He taught me about design, about professionalism, and about family. I will always be grateful for the time I spent with Stephen."
—Brad Jeppson, former designer at Hales Creative
"There are few people who have had a definitive impact on my life the way that Stephen has. He took a chance and hired me straight out of college—for this start in my career I have deep, deep gratitude. He taught me by quiet example the tremendous responsibility of balancing work, church responsibilities, and family—a lesson I am glad to have learned early on. I've been witness to Stephen's gentleness, professionalism, talent, and thrived under the great confidence he put in me. He was the kindest and fairest of men. It's a great loss we have experienced in his passing. My heart and prayers go out to his sweet family."
—Anna Zenk, former designer at Hales Creative
"I was greatly saddened to hear of Stephen’s passing. I had the privilege of working for Stephen for almost three years. Looking back, many of my successes in my professional life and my personal life are squarely rooted in my time working at Hales Creative. I witnessed his indelible example of helping others, never speaking ill of anyone or of any situation, seeing the valley through the forest—even when he was wronged. Calm. Happy. Positive. Believing. Truly good. A father figure. There aren’t many people I know who I would say that about. Stephen was that special."
—A.J. Rich, former designer at Hales Creative
"Stephen hired me straight out of college and was one of the greatest mentors in my life. I am so thankful for his confidence in me and his example. I learned more from Steve than he ever knew. My prayers are with Calli and their kids."
—Fernando Camilo, former account executive at Hales Creative
"What a tremendous loss. Stephen gave me my first job when I was a clueless design student with zero confidence. With his singular, soft-spoken confidence he taught me the fundamentals of design, creativity, and most importantly, integrity. His trust changed the course of my career and his example has had a big impact on my life. Thanks for everything, Steve."
—David Traina, former designer at Hales Creative
"Some mentors are sent by God into your life at just the right time. For me, Stephen Hales was that giant of a man, who showed me daily, diligent, quiet examples of how to love and serve others. Steve set a standard of love and devotion that shined forth whenever I saw him with his beautiful wife Calli and their sweet kids. It amazed me how anyone could juggle important church positions, community service and unrelenting demands for his creative talents, and yet never crack under the strain. For over a decade, I was honored to work closely with Steve at both Hales Allen, and Hales Creative as his Production Manager. I admired early on, how such a unassuming individual could contain a mind of creative fusion and brilliance, yet remain so humble and honoring of me and everyone else he worked with. Despite having constant demands of his time, Steve never shunned or turned me away when I was needing advice, or just wanted to dump a few problems or frustrations on him. He is truly the most Christ-like man I know, and I will be forever honored to have worked beside him on so many significant projects.
"One of Steve’s childhood heroes was Zorro. He loved to collect old Zorro memorabilia. But one of my biggest heroes will forever be Stephen Hales, who gave me a lifetime of warm memories, humorous stories, and loving help and counsel. Steve set the standard for what it means to be a true friend! He showed me forgiveness and mercy for my mistakes when I needed it most. I will always treasure the time I spent with you Steve, and will try to love others and live my life better because of your example."
—Michael James, former manager at Hales Creative
"My heart is heavy and I’ve spent the last week thinking about Stephen and my experience learning from and working for him. About, as a BYU undergraduate design student, listening to Stephen calmly yet passionately expound on the history of graphic design three times a week. About, in the very early days of the location where the agency now sits, the humorous democracy of everyone rushing to answer the phones — “I got it … no, wait, you got it …” — and the excitement of knocking down a closet wall into a huge new unknown behind it. About in private times where he shared personal insight and tempered excitement about potential projects in which we would play a role. About days where he would, with all seriousness and absolute faith, surrounded by design books and artifacts in the best conference room in Utah County, bar none, humbly tell us about his family and the preeminence they were in his life.
"I remember every square inch of that office and the clients that would come and go. But the indelible current in that near-eight years of my life was not the ‘Creative,’ it was the 'Stephen Hales.’ I felt trusted, valued, empowered, and — scaffolded by Stephen’s uncanny nose for the process of working with people, much less clients — prepared for the next chapters of my life. I will miss my friend and mentor and express the greatest love and condolences for Calli, his family, and children. Thank you for sharing your husband, son, and father with me and all of us."
—Doug Stringham, former designer at Hales Creative
"Stephen Hales was milestone mentor for me. When I first met him, I assumed a quiet, conservative man just trying to make things work, but as I started to observe and create alongside him, I realized that there was a lion heart behind those steady eyes. From him I learned that one can be passionate without drama, creative with compromise and maintain your impact on this world though consistent efforts to care. He quietly became a giant in multiple communities through his steadfast service and fierce moral conviction. I watched him work through great difficulties in all aspects of his life and he kept his core sincerity. He was an honorable collaborator, leader and a loving man. My life is forever changed and bettered from his presence. I will always look to him as a part of my family."
—George Loch, former media producer at Hales Creative
"While attending BYU, I interned at Hales Creative. When the internship was over, Stephen offered me the position of account manager at the company and I gladly accepted. Although I was at Hales Creative for only a year, I have many warm memories of Stephen. He was a talented designer and a gifted artist. But most importantly, he was a great human being. He was always willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. He was always humble, always kind. My heart goes out to his family. I pray they can be strengthened by the outstanding example and legacy he leaves behind."
—Jared Warburton, former account manager at Hales Creative
"I am so saddened by the news of Stephen's passing and have thought about him all week. I had the privilege of working at Hales Creative as a designer and the honor of having Stephen as my mentor, boss, friend and example. I have never worked for a more honest, honorable, kind, and loyal boss. I look back on my years at SHC with great happiness and fondness. I truly admired Stephen for many reasons. He was an incredible designer. Everything he designed was pure genius! I also admired the kind of father and husband he was. He always made time for his wife and kids despite his busy schedule. He was a man of pure integrity in both his business and personal life. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work for such an amazing man and for the many things he taught me as a young designer. He truly had such a large influence on me by showing me by example the kind of designer, person and eventually mother that I wanted to be. My heart and prayers go out to Calli and their children during this difficult time. I want them to know how grateful I am to have known Stephen and for the impact he had on my life."
—Nicole Jaussi, former designer at Hales Creative
"If I could choose from every man who breathes on this earth—a man for my brother, a man for my son, and a man for my friend it would all be Stephen Hales! Stephen is so much like our Savior Jesus Christ—he treated everyone not only as a friend but a brother and sister."
—Chas Allen Kreutzkamp, friend, owner of Evergreen Utah and Transformations Accountable Life Coaching, co-founder of mycore
"My heart was broken again this morning when I found out that my best friend, Steve Hales passed away. We were best buddies in the same business. Steve and I for many years both owned successful and competitive advertising agencies in Provo. I have bragged that many of my Provo projects had the special touch of Steve Hales and the head of his art staff Kelly Nield. He's the man I'd go to when I felt I was at a brick wall. I'd go to Steve to see how he would handle the situation. Over the years I've been involved in so many projects and Steve was always there. He was selfless in his service to me and they community. My heart hurts for his family and their loss."
—Louis Crandall, owner of the Crandall Historical Printing Museum and former owner of Crandall Advertising agency
"I am sitting in my office at Brigham Young University this afternoon looking at a stunning photograph of the Latter-day Saint Nauvoo Temple taken in 2008 and framed in a beautiful, rich wood frame. I see Stephen A. Hales’s pencil signature on the cream-colored mat, reminding me that he took the photograph and gave me the photo as a gift several years ago. The photograph is ‘a gallery-quality giclée print.’ A little tag on the back of the frame states, ‘Created personally by the photographer using archival pigment rated to last 200 years.’ The informational tag adds, ‘Even though the photograph is black and white, seven different pigment colors, including the spirit intensities of black, are used to capture every nuance shade of grey.’
Stephen’s purpose in this stunning photograph, matting, and frame was to create ‘a one-of-a-kind piece of art commemorating the spirit of old Nauvoo.’ I think those words capture the essence of Stephen A. Hales's life—a one-of-a-kind human being who was a genius at commemorating the spirit of all that is good in the world. He was a consummate gentlemen-scholar, gentleman-businessman, gentleman-community servant, gentleman-church leader, loving husband, and dedicated father. For the rest of my life, I will fondly look at numerous books, magazines, and journals that bear his master’s design touch, including some of my own publications, and remember him always as someone ‘who went about doing good’ (Acts 10:28)."
—Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Brigham Young University
"Stephen was one of the first boots-on-the-ground with mycore and helped Allen and Doug put shape to the original idea for this company. He generously offered his time, talent and services to help lay the foundation for mycore.
"I attended his son's funeral two years ago (who died from the same brain tumor) and listened in awe as Stephen shared one of the most beautiful and insightful eulogies I have ever heard. That was a day I will not soon forget.
"The passing of this good man and colleague brings focus to not only the purpose of life but what really matters. At mycore, our hearts are softened and our resolve is strengthened to take the mission and vision of mycore to the world.
"As I told [a group of] executives yesterday, 'We want you to look back on your life a year from now, or a lifetime from now, and be glad you lived the life you lived.' I believe Stephen can say just that . . . for he lived his values and was a man of great goodness. In every way that matters, he was a stalwart example of what living one's core looks like."
—Christopher Jones, managing director of mycore
"On behalf of all of us at America’s Freedom Festival, we express our sympathy at the passing of Steve Hales. His service on the Board of Trustees was greatly appreciated by all on the Board and by all the event chairs. He was willing to listen and let all express their thoughts before he would say, 'Have you considered the implications if you do that? I was thinking that it may be best to . . . "
"Many times our direction changed after he gave his insights. He was quiet, thoughtful and always willing to take a back seat in the meetings but very much in the flow of the happenings. After he left the Board of Trustees, he stepped up as owner of Hales Creative to be a major sponsor of the Festival by producing the Festival Magazine sent to over 175,000 homes. He was a believer in the Festival mission to support the Traditional American Values of God, Family, Freedom and Country. We went to him for ideas on many of our advertising projects and were always pleased with his efforts. It has been a joy to associate with him and his family over the past 20 years. We loved him and will miss him."
—Paul Warner, executive director of America's Freedom Festival
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to have known and worked with Steve. Hales Creative was one of my first clients and Steve's belief in me was instrumental in helping me launch my company. His love for his family and consistency in living by principles he believed in were evident in every interaction I had with him. I will always try to emulate his example of humility, gentleness, endurance, patience and faith."
—Hans Hendershot, president and CEO, Kyazma Business Consulting
"I am shocked and saddened by Stephen’s passing. I have been thinking a lot about Stephen, his accomplishments, his life, and the moments our lives crossed paths. It would be difficult to follow in the footsteps of someone who has successfully gone down so many paths. He was successful building a business from the ground up and raising the bar for clients. I know firsthand how he was honest in all of his dealings. Occasionally I saw Stephen and his wife walking across BYU campus, arm in arm. I was impressed how in love they seemed and how they spent quality time together walking and talking. Recently, I was quite fascinated by his run to become a city councilman. When I talked with him about his political venture, he was committed to the cause of improving his community and not motivated by the prestige and esteem of holding an office. No wonder he won. I was also impressed by his love for teaching others his craft. I’m certain many students benefitted from having learned from Stephen Hales. I will certainly miss our conversations and him greeting me whenever I walked through the doors of his business. Stephen was not only an exceptional designer of advertisements, of websites, of magazines, of books, and of other media, he was a superb designer and implementer of a life well lived. Thank you Stephen for designing and showing us a better way."
—Brent Nordgren, production supervisor, Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University
"I was a student of Stephen’s at UVU a couple of semesters ago. He wasn’t suppose to help out much more than the one semester but somehow they convinced him to stay. I wanted to take every class I could from him, but only got to take the one. He was amazing at gently guiding you to learning. He was one of the few professors who I felt truly cared about as well as respected his students. He made you work hard for the grade, but you felt you’d truly earned it when it was given. He was happy to offer whatever help he could and always had wonderful insight. He truly was an exemplary man, and will be missed."
—Libby Slem, UVU student
"Steve was the kind of man that you would aspire to be on your best day. A patient mentor whose kindness and generosity was not limited to those he knew personally. He was ever spiritually minded in times of peace and distress. Ever the calm hand at the rudder in the sea of turbulence that visited his life. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to learn from Steve up close for as long as I did, and feel so very fortunate grace smiled upon me to make his acquaintance and friendship."
—David Solorzano, friend
"On Tuesday, January 20th, I found myself thinking about Stephen Hales. I spent the first three years of my association with him calling him President Hales, as I visited with him several times each year by virtue of the callings we had in the LDS church. From my first encounter with him, I was drawn to his kindness and the remarkable way he focused and listened to each word that was said. Here was a man who lived his faith and who was filled with love-- love that guided each moment in his life.
"I also got to work with him and some of his clients intermittently over the next few years, and I saw him regularly on campus, where he would always greet me warmly. I never left an encounter with Stephen feeling anything less than buoyed up and loved. When he ran for a seat on the Provo City Council, I regretted that I no longer lived there and couldn't vote for this man I loved and trusted completely.
"So I wasn't surprised when my thoughts turned to him last Tuesday. He has left an eternal mark on my life and my soul. Hearing about his sudden passing the next day was a gut punch. I will always cherish the time I spent working with him and feeling the reflected love of our Savior from him."
—Jared Garrett, former freelance writer for Hales Creative