- by Michael Roboz
Steven came to Anthroposophy through his first wife in London, England, around 1948. There was a choice between seeing a movie or going to a lecture by W. J. Stein. She chose the lecture. Steven then attended Stein’s lectures at all opportunities when he was in London. He was the one at the door with the basket. Steven also accompanied Stein when Stein traveled to places, such as Camphills. Stein and his second wife often visited Steven and Charlotte in their apartment. It seems that Stein took a special interest in Steven.
When Steven got the job with British Be Beers, Stein gave Steven a special medicine against Malaria, as Steven was sent to West Africa to diamond drill for diamonds. Steven never got sick. Steven also survived the harsh heat and humidity by reading Steiner and not drinking. Steven was one of the few mining engineers that did not go nuts in this environment.
One of the few Steiner books that survived the breakup of Steven’s first marriage to Charlotte was The Gospel of St. Mathew. It was sent to him from London to British Guiana. Charlotte took all the rest of his books.
Whenever Steven was in New York, (Union Carbide’s head office was in Manhattan), he was visited 211 Madison Ave. It was there that he was accepted into the School of Spiritual Science by Henry Barnes.
Steven was one of the founding members of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada in Toronto, in 1953, when it split off from the Anthroposopical Society in America.
When Steven and Helga, Steven's second wife (and my mother), came to Vancouver in 1954, there were only the Friedebergs and another old lady, Mrs.Mayne, the grandmother of Ann Watson. . At first, the meetings were held at their rented house off S.W. Marine. By that time, there were the Oldhams (Jack was the British Trade Commissioner), Mrs. Halliday and a couple of German people. I was a baby at the time. The Watsons (Jack and Sheila) brought Ann in a bassenette. Helga stayed in the kitchen during the meetings to try to keep me quiet.
Later, the meetings were held at Mrs. Mayne’s. By 1965, the group applied to become the Albert Steffen Group, since Albert Steffen died that year. That proved to be a problem later when in Dornach, Steven would announce himself to people as Steven from the Vancouver Albert Steffen Group. He cojjld not get an audience at first, until he had a chance to explain the situation.
In 1970, Steven appealed to the group and raised the $10,000 needed for a down payment for the mortgage to buy the first Rudolf Steiner Centre at 4th. /Trutch in Vancouver. The two suites allowed it to be viable and self-supporting. Steven and a few others formed the Rudolf Steiner Centre Association to run the building with Steven as President, and Cora Verbrugh as Treasurer.
In 1971, Steven took over Steiner Book Centre (SBC) from Douglas Andress. Douglas and Else (the President of the Canadian Society at the time) had been visiting us in February of that year. He asked Steven to take over SBC if Douglas died. Six weeks later, Douglas was dead. Steven published over 30 titles and had a distributorship for anthroposophical books in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. .. Over the past year, we have had requests from Bosnia and Israel for them to translate Steven's booklet"Islam-study notes" into their respective languages.
Steven and Helga organized and carried out the festivals. Steven gave the talks and for many years arranged for visiting lecturers who often stayed at our house. Helga was like the social hub of the Society. There were times when we had both foreign and local visitors almost every day. The Wednesday study group, which Steven had started in 1954, continues today. Steven had withdrawn his influence on the Group slowly in the 2000s and since 2009, not gone at all. In the 1970s, we often had over 100 people attending a Wednesday. That was before other study groups and interest groups had formed.
Steven was also part of Committee that helped to start the Waldorf School. Steven was Secretary of the Vancouver Waldorf School Association in 1954..