June 21, 2023, 22, Princeton –
9/30/2000 – 6/21/2023
John Christopher Steen passed away at his home in Princeton, North Carolina on June 21, 2023.
John loved fishing, hanging out with friends and family, and watching and sharing silly videos on TikTok. He was intelligent beyond words, funny, handsome, and so charming. He was talented in almost anything he set his mind to from being a server to working construction and remodeling. The pride and joy of his life was his beautiful 19-month-old daughter, Juliet Marie Steen.
John could have been anything in this world. He learned and retained information and skills so quickly, but we never got to see his full potential in this life because he also struggled with substance use disorder from an early age. John began using opioids in high school and he had progressed from pills to heroin and fentanyl in the last couple of years. He hated being an addict and hid it for years mostly successfully. As deep addiction set in, John began to lose jobs, money, and friends and was in constant turmoil with his family. He would try everything to quit, from medication-assisted treatment, to rehab to cold turkey. He just couldn’t seem to shake it. 6 months ago, after a very difficult night filled with bad choices, John finally decided he needed to change. He spent some time in jail and then entered a program called Hope Center Ministries. Even in jail, John began to seriously seek a relationship with Jesus. John accepted Jesus as his personal savior at a young age however he did not cultivate that relationship until recently. Once he went to Hope Center, he truly began to surrender and by the power of the Holy Spirit, John changed completely. He loved the friendships he built in his time at the Hope Center and he especially grew to love Pastor Kelvin Gurley as he taught John and walked beside him as a recovery coordinator, pastor, and father figure. He spent the last few months rebuilding relationships with his family and spending time with his daughter. He told everyone he spoke to that his life was transformed and he was a new creation in Christ. He believed it and we (his family) could see it. John would want you to know that even in these circumstances, he is now at peace, with his Lord and Savior and all those who went before him. He would want you to seek that same peace before it is too late.
We have no idea what happened to trigger John to go back to the very thing that almost destroyed his life before, but we do know that he made a bad choice, and it ultimately killed him. Two days before his death, John went back to his high school – West Johnston High School and spoke to teens taking driver’s ed about his history and warned them about the danger of opioids. He spoke with passion and conviction, and anyone could see that John was born to encourage young people and share his testimony. We were all so proud of John and we still are. Despite all his success, John still battled his urge to use and on June 21, 2023, he lost that battle for the last time. It is a total shock to everyone who got to see John flourish over the last 6 months, and it is a devastating loss to our family and community. Drugs are pure evil, and they only steal, kill, and destroy people and their families. If you or someone you know is affected by substance use disorder and wants to get help, please reach out to JoCo Angels ~ Opioid Awareness and Support. It would be our honor to help you find your path to freedom from addiction.
John was preceded in death by his brother, David James Steen, two maternal grandfathers’ Virgil Henry Shelton and John Alex Tarbet, paternal grandmother Sharon Steen, his cousin Emanual Augusta Shelton, and his Uncle Charles Jordan.
John is survived by his beautiful daughter Juliet Marie Steen and her mother Samantha Fiorella. His mother and stepfather Kelley and Patrick Blas. His father and stepmother James and Angel Steen, brothers Adam Michael Steen (Holly) and James L. Steen Jr., and sister Isabelle Grace Mercer. He is also survived by his grandmothers Lily Tarbet and Debra Waggoner (Kirby). Grandfather David Steen and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is also survived by his girlfriend Tanner Brace and his lifelong best friend Trent Boykin, along with countless friends and family.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, July 1, 2023, at 1:00 PM at The First Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1100 The First Church Road, Goldsboro, NC. The family welcomes visitors at their home any time this week at 461 Dave Howell Lane, Princeton, NC.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in honor of John to either JoCo Angels Opioid Awareness and Support via PayPal at [email protected] or to contribute to support John’s daughter, Juliet – you may donate via PayPal to [email protected].
Services are entrusted to the care of Howell Funeral Home & Crematory in Goldsboro.