William N. Stivers


William “Bill” N. Stivers died Nov. 30 from natural causes. He was 86.

From 1962 through 2000, Stivers worked at Pepperdine University as a professor and coordinator of modern languages. He was one of the original elders at the Malibu Church of Christ, now the University Church of Christ, serving for 40 years. For many years he offered free Spanish classes to the Malibu community, of which he was a resident for more than 30 years. Stivers also was greatly involved in Camp Stivers, a mission in San Felipe, Mexico that was named for his dedication and benevolence for the Spanish speaking people of Mexico, the United States and Central America.

Stivers was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1918. His family moved to California when he was two years old. Stivers attended Pepperdine College, while teaching Bible class at the only Spanish-speaking congregation in Los Angeles. He served in the military during World War II, later returning to Southern California to earn his master’s degree from USC. Stivers then went on to Quito, Ecuador to attend Central University of Quito, earning his doctorate.

In 1947, Stivers married Frances Novak of Wichita, Kan. She worked at Pepperdine in the library for 10 years and then in the admissions office for 20 years. Stivers served for 10 years as chief deputy to the late Kenneth Hahn, who was then a Los Angeles County supervisor. Stivers was on the boards of the Spastic Children’s Foundation, East Los Angeles Hospital and the Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He is the author of several books of stories and legends of Spanish-speaking peoples.

Stivers is survived by his wife of 57 years, his daughter, Nina, his son, Chris, his daughter-in-law, Sandy and three grandchildren. Stivers was preceded in death by his son, Stephen.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Dec. 11, at 1 p.m. in Elkins Auditorium on the Pepperdine campus.