WILLIAMSBURG,Va. (NNS) -- A former U.S. Navy chief of chaplains died Nov. 21 in Williamsburg, Va.
Retired Rear Adm. Neil M. Stevenson served as chief of chaplains from August 1983 to August 1985.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Stevenson completed his seminary training in 1955 at Pittsburg Theological Seminary in Pittsburg, Pa. While there, he met and married his wife Diane.
Following seminary, he received a commission as lieutenant junior grade in the United States Naval Reserve. While in the Reserves, Stevenson served a rural parish in Nebraska for a year and a half before going to Naval Chaplains School in Newport, R.I.
While on active duty, Stevenson was selected for post-graduate studies in sociology of religion and social theory at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.
In the late 1960s, he served in Vietnam as the personal response officer attached to the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force Headquarters, where he provided instructions to Marines in the areas of intercultural relationships.
Stevenson was promoted to rear admiral lower half in 1980 and served as deputy chief of chaplains until his promotion to chief in 1983.
"Rear Adm. Stevenson championed our Chaplain Corps as a professional community of staff officers. His contribution set the groundwork for 'Professional Naval Chaplaincy' and is directly responsible for the Corps that we have today. He was a dedicated chaplain and a great innovator as chief of chaplains. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family," said Rear Adm. Robert Burt, current Chief of Navy Chaplains
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