While living in Las Cruces, Bill was employed as a project manager by the Physical Science Laboratory of New Mexico State University. He spent the following 21 years in various management positions with the laboratory, retiring from the university on July 1, 2013. One of the government contracts managed by the laboratory was for the operation and maintenance of the NASA high altitude scientific research balloon facility here in Palestine, the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF). In 1999, they were transferred from the main laboratory in New Mexico to CSBF. Kay and he moved to Palestine in July 1999.
Kay was no stranger to East Texas. Her parents had deep roots in the area, principally with ties to Nacogdoches. She was extremely proud of being able to trace her ancestors back to Steven W. Blount Sr., a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Kay was an avid bowler, bridge player, and enjoyed golf. In Las Cruces, she bowled on several leagues, and won the Las Cruces Women’s Bowling League Queens Tournament in 1996. She and other ladies from Las Cruces competed in numerous state tournaments, and in two National Ladies Tournaments. In Palestine, Kay also was a regular player in several bridge groups, playing regularly with the group playing at the Church of Christ on Thursdays.
In other activities, Kay was active in the Palestine Newcomers Club, the Dogwood Garden Club, and the Museum for East Texas Culture. She held various offices in all of these organizations.
Kay was predeceased by her mother, Bobby Ann Blount.
She is survived by her father, Bob Blount of Alamogordo, N.M.; her husband, Bill Stepp; daughter, Keila and husband Josh Keith, of Tyler; daughter, Kristen and husband Staff Sergeant Shane de la Torre, currently stationed with the U.S. Air Force on Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan, with grandson Damacio Lucas de la Torre. She is also survived by brother and sister-in-law, Curt and Kaudia Blount of Hot Springs, Ark.; and sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Wayne Haddock of Alamogordo, N.M.