Paul Stevenson, 52, formerly of Potsdam
Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 6:33 pm

Paul Stevenson died suddenly at home on April 16, 2013.

Born on April 4, 1961, in Watertown to George and Teresa Stevenson, he was the eldest of their two children. Paul attended General Brown schools as a child. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) from St. Lawrence University, Canton in 1983. He earned dual Master’s degrees from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Public Administration and from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Environmental Science in 1988.

Paul was proud of his service in the United States Peace Corp. where he served as a fisheries extension officer in rural Kenya. It was there that Paul developed a lifelong love for Africa.

For the last 25 years, Paul served his community and nation working in increasingly responsible positions with the City of Syracuse’s, Department of Community Development, the St. Lawrence County Planning Office, Director of the City of Ithaca’s Urban Renewal Agency, Director of Planning and Development for the Village of Potsdam; and, most recently as a diplomat and analyst with the State Department of the United States. Paul served his country with distinction in embassy postings in Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria; he had recently been posted in Washington, DC where he served in the Bureau of African Affairs.

Paul was a community builder who easily built networks of friends across the globe. He labored tirelessly to make every community, especially Potsdam a better place for all. Among his signature accomplishments in Potsdam and St. Lawrence County included the start-up of the North Country HOME Consortium, a housing effort that has brought millions of federal dollars to St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis Counties over the last 15 years. He led the reconstruction of a landmark block of Potsdam’s downtown historic preservation district that had been nearly destroyed in a fire, creating new apartments and storefronts. Paul also organized the Village’s community forestry program after the 1998 Ice Storm that planted hundreds of street trees throughout the community to replace those lost.

Perhaps his proudest moment during his diplomatic career was being an election monitor in Uganda’s first democratic elections in decades; he watched as Ugandan’s hand counted ballots from their Kampala voting precinct by the headlights of his Jeep.

His intellectual curiosity was matched by his dry sense of humor and comedic timing. Paul was an avid outdoorsman; he especially loved to hike in the Adirondacks but found interesting hikes across the U.S. and those African nations he visited. While Paul was in many respects a world citizen, he never strayed far from his North Country roots and the values that he learned from his Mom and Dad.

Paul was a communicant of Trinity Episcopal Church in Potsdam and St. George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, VA.

He is survived by his proud and loving parents, George and Theresa, and his brother Jeffery and his wife Debra and their children Alyssa, Andrew and Tyler. Paul left behind many true friends and colleagues around the world that will miss him sorely.

Calling hours will be held at the Garner Funeral Service in Potsdam on Monday, April 22, 2013 from 4 - 7 p.m. His funeral service will be held on Tuesday, April 23rd at 11 a.m. at the Trinity Episcopal Church with Rev. Dr. Christopher Brown celebrant.

Online condolences can be sent at

Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the American Heart Association or the charity of one’s choice.