Sunol has been in the news quite a bit this past
couple of weeks. Unfortunately, it is because one of our own
is missing. Stephan Doyle, a good friend and very important
person in the community, disappeared from his place of business
in Hayward on November 30. He had just received a brand new
car which was still parked outside and his beloved dogs were
just where he left them.
Stephan is big-hearted man. He is always there to help out;
in fact, the last time I saw him was six days earlier. After
picking up the Little Brown Church’s new water fountain
in Half Moon Bay, I realized that we needed some serious muscle
to get the heaviest pieces of concrete out of the back of the
truck. I knew I could call on Stephan because not only did
he live just up Kilkare Road, he is always available to help.
Sure enough, he pulled up in front of the church just as we
were arriving with the fountain.
Creative and unique is his style and Stephan has a knack for
decorating in a most unusual yet beautiful way. A couple of
years ago I wrote in this column about a Sunol Community Club
spring garden silent auction and wine tasting event. Stephan
was commissioned to help decorate and in keeping with the outdoor
setting created the most beautifully decorated port-a-pottie
I had ever seen.
Stephan loves children and they have always loved him back.
Children gravitate to him like moths to a light. While camping
last summer with the Little Brown Church near Capitola, Stephan
was a huge hit with the kids when he produced dozens of glow
sticks and glow jewelry. He captivated the children when he
stuck a whole chicken on the end of a big stick and cooked
it over an open camp fire. He was there to help out with every
tent, sleeping bag and ice chest.
And he was awestruck when after Sunday services at the campsite
an announcement was made asking for more volunteer Sunday school
teachers and I nominated Stephan. Fully prepared to hear a
resounding “No”, I looked him in the eyes and saw
a glimmer of “Maybe”. He had never taught Sunday
school before but his love for children has always been apparent
and we knew he would succeed. After the fireside service I
took him aside and said, “So, did you ever think you
would be a Sunday school teacher?” and although apprehensive,
he had a big grin on his face and you could tell he felt honored.
Several weeks later Stephan called me asking questions about
what type of craft project he might lead the following Sunday.
Knowing he had a knack for extravagance, I told him to keep
it simple, they were just of elementary school age. I arrived
early the following Sunday to see what he was planning for
the children and he told me his first idea of magnificent golden
pyramids flopped when he tested it at home so he stayed up
all night planning the current craft project of Styrofoam tablets
bearing the ten commandments. He was nervous that first Sunday
but the children adored him and looked forward to seeing him
over the next couple of weeks. He later told me that he had
asked his mother to sit down before telling her on the phone
that he was teaching Sunday school and I’m sure she was
just as proud of him as we were.
Stephan was to begin teaching Sunday school for the entire
month of December and church members were alarmed when he did
not show up on the 2nd because he is very reliable. Church
leaders formed a prayer vigil at the Sunol Community Park on
December 9 that was attended by dozens of Sunolians and the
television news media. Stephan touched many lives and we are
praying for his safe return. Besides, the little kids at the
Little Brown Church really miss him too.