A day after U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in Libya, friends in Northern California remembered him not just as a man devoted to the foreign service but also as a devoted friend.
By Wednesday morning, Paul Feist, a friend who had known him since they attended Piedmont High School in the East Bay in the 1970s, posted a status update on his Facebook page: " â25 years ago next week, John Christopher Stevens was the best man at my wedding. Today I awoke to the horrible news that Ambassador Stevens had been killed at the U.S. consulate in eastern Lybia. We are grief struck. Thank you, Chris, for being a friend and for serving your country and the international community so well and so selflessly."
The two met when they were freshmen who enjoyed sports and wrote for the student newspaper.
Throughout college and then through the years of Stevens' career with the State Department in the Middle East, he made a point of staying in touch, said Feist, a California Community Colleges vice chancellor.
"He would come back and visit family in the Bay Area and Sacramento, and he'd always come to Stockton to see us," said Feist. "We'd cook him a home-cooked meal. He'd come to the house, and we'd try to pump him for information about the excitement of his life and career.
"He was such an unpretentious guy. He'd want to know about your son and how he was doing in school. He was a remarkable man."
Stevens spent his early years in Davis, where he attended elementary and junior high school before his parents divorced. His father, Jan Stevens, is a retired attorney with the state of California. His mother, Mary Commanday, is a musician who once played cello with the Marin Symphony. A brother is in the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco, and a sister is a doctor in Seattle, Feist said.
Keith Sparks, a retired Sacramento County court of appeals judge who lives in Loomis, not far from Stevens' father and stepmother, said that Stevens visited Northern California not long before Hillary Clinton swore him in as ambassador to Libya in May. His father and stepmother attended the ceremony in Washington, D.C.
"I takes so long to develop great skill, and it's gone in an instant," Sparks said.
Call The Bee's Anita Creamer, (916) 321-1136.
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
â¢ Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
â¢ Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
â¢ Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
â¢ Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
â¢ Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
â¢ Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
â¢ Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
â¢ Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
â¢ Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.