Former Oakhurst businessman shot and killed

Brian WilkinsonFebruary 21, 2013 

A former Oakhurst businessman, Steve Stair, 57, was shot and killed in Phoenix, Ariz. Monday, Feb. 11. Stair and his wife, Cheryl, owned and operated the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Highway 41 in Oakhurst for 11 years before selling the business in 2006, eventually relocating to Arizona in 2009.

The Stairs' owned about 100 condo units in Phoenix, and were working at one of the properties on the evening of Feb. 10, when Cheryl noticed a light on in one of the units. Stair, due to previous issues with trespassers, took his pistol and went to investigate the following morning. When Steve entered the apartment, the shooter, who was in the process of committing a burglary, shot Stair twice in the upper body.

Stair was transported to a hospital where he later died from his wounds.

Police arrested the 31-year-old shooter in front of a school as he was walking away from the complex. When stopped by police, he was found to be carrying a loaded .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, a loaded .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a shorten barrel shotgun in his backpack. The .380 handgun belonged to Stair. The shooter was also in possession of methamphetamine.

The couple had two sons, Jared, 25, and Jordan, 23. Both sons graduated from Yosemite High School -- Jared in 2006 and Jordan in 2008. Both sons are working in the hotel industry in Phoenix.

Stair, who was an avid golfer and loved to fish, camp and hunt with his family, also has two daughters from a previous marriage.

"My dad worked hard everyday on all these properties and everyone of his tenants loved him," Jared said. "If someone could not pay the monthly rent, my dad would let them work it off by painting or other work at the condos. We are still in shock and can't believe this has happened."

Family friend Peggy Potter remembers Steve was like a dad to her son Jon Potter.

"My son Jon and his son Jared were best friends throughout elementary school, junior high and high school," Potter said. "They were always together and about four years ago, Jon became co-owner of a house with Jared and Jordan in Phoenix while they were all attending Paradise Valley Community College."

Potter said the couple were big contributors to the community.

"Steve and Cheryl always contributed to Little League, area fire fighters, Yosemite High athletics and numerous other community organizations," Potter said. "Both Steve and Cheryl loved Oakhurst and they worked long hours to make their KFC the success that it was."

Joe Smith, former trustee with the Bass Lake Joint Union School District now serving on the Yosemite Unified District board of trustees, remembers Stair as a person who loved his family and community and was very involved with both.

"You would always see Steve at community, school and sports events supporting his kids," Smith said. "He touched a lot if people's lives and always brighten the day of the seniors who came to his KFC for the buffet. His greatest accomplishment was his family -- they are fine people who will miss him deeply."

An account has been established for the family at Chase Bank and donations can be made to the Steven Russell Stair Estate, account number 3022964661, or through PayPal.com under scs.85@live.com.

Services were Feb. 18 at Chapel of the Chimes in Phoenix followed by burial at Rest Haven Cemetery.

Sympathy cards can be sent to the family at 31613 North 19th Ave., Phoenix, AZ., 85085-8004.

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