Stephen Thomas Canipe, 78, educator, historian, and archivist for Horn in the West Outdoor Drama, died peacefully in his sleep on January 5, 2022. The son of Thomas A. Canipe and Ruby Bray Canipe, he was born on March 19, 1943, in Elkin, NC. An Eagle Scout, he developed a lifelong interest in science, history, and music. While attending Appalachian State University, he played piano in local bands and played guitar and sang in publicity quartets for Horn in the West. While working there he met a dancer, Margie Varner, his future wife.
Having earned a B.S. and master's degree in science education from ASU, Steve and Margie moved to Wilkes County where he made his career as a science educator in public schools. Steve and Margie also established The Canipe School of Dance.
In 1998, the couple returned to Boone and to the Drama. Margie served as choreographer for several seasons, and Steve became active with Southern Appalachian Historical Association (SAHA), the governing organization for Horn in the West and Hickory Ridge History Museum. In 2005, he became a member of the SAHA board of directors and over the years, he served as vice chair, secretary, and most recently, on the 2021 production committee. He also took on the challenge of compiling programs, photos, and articles from the Horn in the West's inception and authored the book, In the Evening West, a history that includes personal reflections, backstage antics, and heartwarming stories about the production that has played an important role in the history of western North Carolina for seventy years.
Steve was predeceased by Margie Varner Canipe. He is survived by his son, Joseph Canipe and Mary Claire Hurley, brother Chris Canipe and wife, Sandra, sisters-in-law Janice Love and Judy Cook, grandson Chance Parsons Canipe, and a host of nieces and nephews.
Steve touched many lives with his quiet demeanor, quick wit, and kindness. He will be missed by those who knew and loved him.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 5 at 1:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 200 West Cowles Street, Wilkesboro, NC.
Memorial gifts may be given in Steve's honor to the Southern Appalachian Historical Association, P.O. Box 295, Boone, NC 28607.
Online condolences may be shared with the Canipe family at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory, Boone, is serving the Canipe family.