Steph's Story

Devoted Mother • Accomplished Professional • Volunteer • Creator of Epicurean Delight

A dear friend said that Stephanie, in her short 40 years here with us, lived as if they were 80. In spite of numerous challenges, Stephanie had a joy of life that energized those around her. With a biting wit and a warm heart, Stephanie was one who could fill your tummy as well as your mind in a single setting. Her absolute favorite pastime here was cooking and hosting meals for her friends and family. She was the creator of many culinary masterpieces, prepared with healthy (or just tasty) ingredients and lots of love.

Along with the delights of cuisine, Stephanie was always trying to make things better personally- by figuratively (and literally when needed) picking up a shovel and moving heaven and earth. Stephanie volunteered time in several circles of life- from the schools that her children attended, to her church, to her medical community, to her Stanford community. Steph found time to join political campaigns, involving herself in efforts to pass or defeat propositions in any given election year, and to stump for her selected candidates. One of the campaigns that Steph was most fond of working was the 2004 Presidential Campaign for Wesley Clark. If not afflicted with heart disease, Stephanie would have been involved with four times as many things as most folks. When Steph would lock into a cause, she had a way of pulling other people into the effort. In a way, she is still doing just that today via this Foundation.

Steph's Life

Stephanie Elaine Brown Cadet, departed first wife of Ron and mother of Charles-Andre and Mia Alexandra Cadet was born to Staff Sgt. Robert Brown and Julia Brown on August 20, 1964, at Hamilton Air Force Base in San Rafael, California. Stephanie was raised in Texas and Florida with her five brothers and sisters Reggie, Deborah, Sue, Michael and Geoffrey. After high school, Stephanie ventured off to Stanford University, a school and a place that she fell in love with. (Stephanie once declared that she never wanted to live more than 15 miles from Stanford!) Steph graduated from Stanford University in 1987, where she studied psychology and economics.

Stephanie with Charles and Mia

Stephanie with Charles and Mia

After graduating from Stanford, Steph's professional career began at Oracle Corporation. In 1991, Stephanie and Ron met and they were married in 1992. Eventually settling in Redwood City, in 1994, Steph and Ron joined Jerusalem Baptist Church, where she was active in the Young Adult Ministry and the Children's Ministry. Also in 1994, Stephanie joined an exciting start up, Crystal River Engineering as their manager of sales. She was instrumental in their ultimate acquisition by a larger company. After leaving Crystal River, she worked for and consulted with a variety of technology firms, until she began focusing her attention and energies on her young son, Charles-Andre, who was born in 1996.

Charles was born with an extremely rare neurological condition, which produced neurological disability, an epileptic complex known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and autism. With Charles, unable to develop language or even rudimentary self care skills, Steph redirected her talents and energies to the care of her son. While caring for her son, Stephanie actively volunteered in the medical, educational, and special needs community.

Tragically, a year after after learning of Charles' afflictions, Stephanie was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition of her own, which produced Cardiomyopathy and Ventricular Fibrillation. To this day, the root causes of the diseases of mother and son are unknown.

Stephanie and her family were advised that the typical life expectancy of those with her condition was 3-5 years. Choosing not to follow a deterministic path, Stephanie vowed to live as if she was going to live to be 100. To that end, Stephanie continued her energetic contribution to the lives of all of those around her.

A couple of years later, Stephanie and Ron welcomed the arrival of daughter Mia into their lives as a "fost-adopt" child. Mia's formal adoption brought a great deal of joy to Stephanie and her family. Stephanie's attitude, engagement in life, and giving to her community appeared to be a winning formula, as all of her cardiac tests trended considerably well in 2004 and 2005. However, shortly after enjoying a wonderful vacation back east visiting cherished friends and family, Stephanie was quickly called home one night in early July, seven years after her diagnosis. She is now interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos Hills, nestled in the beautiful hills that she fell in love with as a Stanford student.

Stephanie's legacy was continued in the lives of her surviving husband, son, daughter, sister, and by her friends and family through the work of this Foundation. The Foundation wound up its active operations in Dec 2017, after having helped send over 25 students to college.