Each week leading up to our 50th Anniversary, we’re bringing you stories from the community about the history of Hemisfair. It’s with a heavy heart that this week we look back and remember Patsy Steves, who passed away this past weekend.
Patsy moved from Oklahoma to San Antonio in 1937 at the age of ten. She attended Alamo Heights High School, and lived in the neighborhood for the rest of her days. Her late husband, Marshall T. Steves, Sr., was one of three people, along with Bill Sinkin and John Daniels to file the articles of incorporation for San Antonio Fair, Inc., the organization that managed the construction and operation of the 1968 World’s Fair. Prior to the Fair, the Riverwalk was so dangerous that military personnel were forbidden from visiting on leave. Patsy and Marshall were part of a group of San Antonians led principally by David Straus with revitalizing the Riverwalk during the lead-up to the World’s Fair in 1968, helping to start La Sirena among other ventures.
Marshall and Patsy’s home was built by Chris Carson, then a young architect working under O’Neil Ford (i.e. the Tower of the Americas architect). The house became a quasi-base of operations for much of the planning for the World’s Fair. This was especially the case for hosting visiting diplomats and dignitaries, many of whom found welcome accommodations with the Steves family in their seemingly palatial, yet disarmingly humble home.
Patsy was a community leader, establishing the three-person advisory committee for the Hemisfair Conservancy with Rosemary Kowalski and Lila Cockrell, before joining the board formally. Many Hemisfair Conservancy meetings took place in the very same room where Patsy had helped plan the Fair, all those years ago. She was a founding member of the San Antonio Botanical Society, and started or joined dozens of boards and committees over her lifetime, all with the goal of building a more beautiful San Antonio for everyone to enjoy. Until her final day she was striving to make a better world for all of us.
Our deepest condolences go out to the Steves family on the loss of Allierose Patricia Galt Steves. She was a grande dame of San Antonio, perhaps the closest thing our city has to royalty. We’ll miss her on April 6 when we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hemisfair, but hope you’ll join us to celebrate. If you’ve got a memory from the last 50 years of Hemisfair, we’d love to hear about at hemisfair.org/memories.