Cover photo for Stephen Michael Alvania's Obituary
Stephen Michael Alvania Profile Photo

Stephen Michael Alvania

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“Ride safe. My friends call me Horse.”

These words closed every article Stephen Michael Alvania submitted to motorcycle magazines like Hog Tales and Road Rider. Editors always removed his tagline before publication, but he continued to include it. He had a message to share.

When Stephen passed away on Sunday, September 25th at his daughter’s home in Springfield, VA, all was silent. There was none of the sarcastic banter he so enjoyed, no thunder of Harleys, no uplifting songs of hope and idealism. His daughters were not treated to one last meandering monologue with a hidden point that surfaced at the last moment. He did not get the last word. He must be so annoyed.

To hear Stephen tell it, his career was a series of good opportunities he fell into. He joined the Air Force because the recruiter for the Marines happened to be at lunch. He started community college because the school happened to be enrolling late that year. He moved to Virginia and became an air traffic controller because he happened to get in touch with an old Air Force buddy who had done the same. But Stephen didn’t just “fall” into these opportunities. He leapt, arms wide, eyes open. He took chances doing things he’d never planned, and then he enjoyed the hell out of those experiences. He loved college, he loved working at Dulles International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration, and he especially loved the two years he spent as the FAA’s advisor to the House of Representatives. He enjoyed his work so much, he started a consulting business after he retired, and he happened to discover a love of teaching.

Stephen was a great conversationalist. He cared about the people he met and what they had to say. He was intellectual, but he shared his knowledge without making people feel “less than.” He was philosophical and spiritual – he often spoke at length about where he thought he would be after dying. Honestly, he should have just worn a button: “Ask me about the First Law of Thermodynamics.” He had many loves, including aviation, Harleys, music, seafood, and Washington DC. And then there was his family. He could go on and on about his daughters – Bernadette, Rebecca, and Kathleen – and grandchildren – Amelia, Henry, Rex, Felix, Sebastian, and Ozzie. Everyone who knew him knew how proud he was of his girls and their kids.

Stephen is also survived by his brother Ken; former wife and dear friend Susan; sons-in-law Jason Williams, Brian Marx, and Everitt Clark; and numerous cousins, in-laws, nieces, and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, Steve Alvania and Olga Pawlack Alvania of Ambridge, PA.

While making his final arrangements, Stephen said “I can’t wait [to be buried at Congressional Cemetery]!” He was excited about the history of the cemetery and appreciated its quirkiness. After all, he needed to be sure he could have something funny written on his memorial stone. But most of all, he was delighted to be the first of many interred in his burial plot — he chose to be cremated specifically so that he could share the space with his entire family, as well as anyone else who needs a place to go. Stephen had one final message to share: If you are looking for somewhere to spend the afterlife, you are welcome to join his eternal pierogi party.

Ride safe, Horse.

A civil funeral service will be held at 12pm on Monday, October 24th at Cunningham Turch Funeral Home in Old Town Alexandria. Please join the family afterwards for a procession past Stephen’s old DC haunts to a reception at the Congressional Cemetery chapel.

Donations can be made in Stephen’s memory to The Native American Rights Fund.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stephen Michael Alvania, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Monday, October 24, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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