Steven ArvanitesSteven Arvanites

Walter Strankowski











Steven Arvanites, 60, of Des Plaines, IL, passed away on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Advent LaGrange Hospital.

Visitation will take place Thursday, May 18, 2023, at the M J Suerth Funeral Home, 6754 N. Northwest Hwy. Chicago from 4 - 8 pm, CDT. Funeral Friday, family and friends gathering at 3:45 PM CDT at St Paul of the Cross Church, 320 S Washington, Park Ridge (at Northwest Hwy). Mass will be celebrated at 4: 00 PM. Presiding Officiant will be Father Carl Morello. The interment will be private.

Donations may be made in memory of Steven to Petite Opera Productions, P.O. Box 195, Des Plaines, IL 60016, or online at:

Steven was born in Chicago, Illinois, the middle of three sons born to Maria (nee Metropoulos) Arvanites and Louis Arvanites. He attended Lane Tech High School in Chicago and graduated in 1980. He studied business and pursued a career in supply chain management. After fifteen years at Rust-Oleum Corporation, his increasing interest in science led him to change careers in the healthcare field. He studied Nuclear Medicine, graduating from Triton College in 2013. After pursuing a year as a surgical tech, he joined Morris Hospital as a Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist; there he happily remained for a decade until his death.

He cherished the small community hospital environment, and friendly camaraderie with his team, and was fulfilled by his ability to help patients each day. Because he was mature when he began in his newly chosen field, Steve was humbled when his patients incorrectly referred to him as "doctor", laughingly saying "I guess it must be the graying hair!"

Steve led a parallel life as a performing artist. Early on, he learned to play the guitar and sing, performing in choirs and musical productions with the Explorer Troupe, and with Tunes and Taps. In his late teens, he became a core member of the Generic Theatre Company. It was here that he also developed an acuity for producing shows that would figure prominently throughout his life.

While performing a Gilbert & Sullivan (G&S) operetta, he met Susan Baushke, who would later become his wife. The two became fast friends and co-performers. While continuing to perform G&S, they co-starred in a one-act play competition, founded a comic spoof troupe called "Theatre on A Deck" and another musical outreach group called "Artists in Resonance". Later, the couple was cast opposite each other in the International G&S production of "Iolanthe" in Philadelphia, where Steve won the "Best Male Performer" award for his role as Strephon.

Once the love spark ignited, it never faded. In 1997, Steven married the love of his life, Susan Baushke, on a Michigan golf course. Their invitation read "We have found love in our families, our friends, our music, and now, in each other." Steve called their marriage their "finest production". Their love was rekindled many times as they performed their original show called "That's Amore!"

Steve was a science nerd, a musician, and a Christian. He loved to be busy and productive. While continuing to perform in shows, he was Cantor and Bass Choral Section Leader at St Paul of the Cross-a position he held for 28 years.

An incredibly talented and versatile performer, Steve performed with many musical companies including Chicago Opera Theatre, Southwest Michigan Symphony & Opera, Light Opera Works (Music Theatre Works), Whiting Symphony, Bowen Park Opera, Intimate Opera, and Lincoln Opera. He was a founder and board member of Petite Opera Productions, where he was also Director of Production and part of the translation team that updated operas into English with modern-day settings.

To say Steve was a sports enthusiast would be an understatement. His love of Chicago sports-(Bears, Cubs Blackhawks,) was a core part of his life. He was an avid golfer who constantly challenged himself to greater heights (higher, higher, higher!) and a Bowler who wanted to "strike" a chord with every shot.

Steve was the consummate embodiment of continuous improvement for all aspects of sports and music, striving to attain his ideal of perfection. His creativity was amazing. His ability to take paper-thin concepts and manifest them into physical existence with ease made him an outstanding set designer. His ability to remain calm in a crisis and multi-task made him a Director of Production to envy.

"Fiercely intense" was Steve's approach to life. He was loving, caring, exuberant, passionate, and welcoming. He "adopted" friends as family as easily as he took a breath each day. Once he knew you, he was your confidante, your cheerleader, and the guy who always had your back.

We will forever hear his hearty, effusive laugh. His light will never extinguish among us.

Steven is survived by his wife of 25 years, Susan Baushke; father, Louis Arvanites; Brother, George Arvanites (Thomas MacEntee); brother, John Arvanites; nephew Michael Arvanites; niece Sophia Arvanites; brother-in-law Mark Baushke; and aunts, Eleni Pilafas and Soteria Baxevanou and numerous cousins.

He was predeceased by his mother Maria Arvanites; Mother-in-law Emily Baushke; and Father-in-Law David Baushke.