Dr. Steven Henry Childs was born on May 3, 1944 to Alva Ruth Flagg and Paul Childs in Atlanta, Georgia in the colored section of the then segregated Grady Memorial Hospital. His birth name was Henry Steven Childs, named after his grandfather, Dr. Henry Stewart Flagg, but later swapped his first and middle name because of a cartoon character named Henry that he didn’t want to be associated with because the boy was always in trouble.
As a young boy, Steven (Steve) was raised in Tennille, Georgia by his loving grandmother Gertrude Flagg. He was baptized at St. James AME Church where he attended every Sunday. His early education was at the Thomas Jefferson Schools in Sandersville, Georgia.
He had many fond memories of growing up on a farm, especially playing with his cousins that were near-by. He had a special bond with his aunt and uncle, Gladys and Melvin Rice, who helped shape his young mind.
He later moved to Minnesota with his aunt and uncle, Henrietta and Dr. Thomas Johnson, and their 5 children (more cousins to love and enjoy). He attended Washburn High School where he participated in wrestling and track and field. Surrounded by positive role models all his life, Steve was encouraged to excel in everything that he did. With this encouragement he returned to the South to attend Fort Valley State College where he received his M.S. degree in Counseling and Guidance in 1968. He later went on to receive his Ph.D. in Student Personnel Administration from the University of Michigan in 1982, an accomplishment that made him proud.
He spent his career at different schools and universities including Saginaw Valley State College as Assistant Director of Admissions, Colgate University as Associate Dean of Freshmen Students, Spelman College as Associate Dean of Student Life, and lastly at Dunwoody Elementary School as Student Counselor.
Steve was a fierce supporter of civil rights. Growing up in the South during segregation, he experienced discrimination first-hand. As an adult he supported any effort that would promote equitable treatment for African Americans. He was politically astute and continued to financially support the candidates of his choice to the very end of his life.
One of Steve’s favorite past-times was fishing. He relished the times he could return to Minnesota to fish with his brother, Maurice Chenier and his stepfather, Preston Chenier. His most memorable times were at this huge 73-mile-long lake named Rainy Lake on the Minnesota/Canadian border. After their catch, the tour guide would clean and cook the fish with other delicious breakfast foods. The desire to make this trip again is what kept Steve determined to continue to get stronger and stronger. He lived well past the time the doctor’s predicted…he remained a fighter to the end when he transitioned on April 27, 2022.
Steve was predeceased by his grandparents, Dr. Henry S. Flagg and Gertrude Flagg; his parents, Paul Childs and Ruth (Preston Chenier). He is survived by his sister Roslyn Chenier of Atlanta, Georgia, his brother Maurice (Shelia) Chenier of Big Lake, MN along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Rest in Peace Steve!
A memorial service was held on Saturday, July 9, 2022 at the Flagg Cemetery, Tennille, Georgia.
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