All of us, from all over the world, have been privileged to share Steph's journey through life.  He loved his family and friends devotedly and would have wanted us to celebrate his life and carry on with the journey.  It begins now with the sharing of special memories and photos.  Steph had a joyful and adventurous life.  He genuinely cared for all of us and always made sure to know everything about us. He was a rock of strength for his family. During his life, Steph touched all our lives in some way.  Please help carry his legacy forward and post any photos or stories you would like to share.

ELS Memorial - YouTube Video for youtube video stephan wilhelm els▶ 8:34

In lieu of flowers/gifts, we ask you to give to the boys education fund at  If you get an error message, clear your browser history and try again.  The site is a bit glitchy if you been to the page and try to go back into it.

Or you can make a donation check payable to Fidelity Investments and mail to:
Fidelity Investments 
P.O. BOX 770001
Cincinnati, OH 45277-0015

It is important that you include the Fidelity 529 account number and place it in the memo link of the check, the account number is #617923362, Johannes Els account but the funds will go to both boys for their college education. Individual checks must not exceed $2,500.

If you would like to deliver a meal for Jocelyn and boys, please go to this link

Posted by Heinrich Badenhorst on November 28, 2021
Still in our hearts and thoughts Steph!!
Posted by Marcel Maritz on April 10, 2021
The world has been a lonelier place the last five years. I miss you my friend but hope that you are looking down on all of us and know that you still impact our lives.
Posted by Betty Desmond on April 28, 2016
Dearest Jocelyn, we hold our memories of times together close to our hearts. Your Steph was a joy to our family and he wil be sorely missed. May God keep you & your boys safe and loving as you learn to continue on as Steph would want. We'll be in touch very soon. Love you lots.
Posted by Denise Schliesmann on April 27, 2016
Jocelyn, you and the boys are in my thoughts and prayers everyday. The memorial service was such a loving tribute to Stephan. He was taken way too soon, but I was blown away how fully he lived his life with the years he had. I left Atlanta more comforted after seeing the wonderful support you have there. You and the boys are dearly loved by me and so many others. I may not be close in proximity, but I will be there for you and the boys in anyway I can. I saw so much of Stephan in the boys this weekend and I know he will live in spirit through them. xoxo my sweetheart.
Posted by Mandana Dobesh on April 25, 2016
With my most heartfelt and deepest sympathy to the Els and Desmond families, on such a devastating loss. There was no one like Stephan. He had such a kind and warm inner glow, that will stay forever with everyone who ever knew him. He will be sorely missed but his memory will live on.......
Posted by Rick Lynn on April 24, 2016
Jocelyn and family, of the many occasions that I was able to spend time with Stephan, the one constant that stayed with me was his presence. I could be telling him some story about navel lint and I'd look over at him, and he'd have this look on his face like this was the most interesting thing he'd heard all day. He was a very great comfort as a friend and I know I'm a better person for having known him.
 Like everyone, I was shocked to hear of his passing; looking at the pictures and just remembering him I am reminded as we all are of just how lucky we were to have known him. May he always live in your hearts and may you remember him with pride, for you all have much to be proud of.
Posted by Olli Patrikainen on April 22, 2016
I worked with Stephan for a few years; he was such a positive, thoughtful and warm person. I am so sorry for your loss.
Posted by Mike Matsko on April 22, 2016
I worked with Stephan for about 5 years but more importantly we were partners on the IT Golf league for most of that time as well. He was a great guy, loved his family and not a bad golfer. It has been strange playing these last couple of weeks without him and I look for his smile each time I arrive at the course. He will continue to be missed by all that knew him.
Posted by Kofi Coaxum on April 22, 2016
What a great guy who will be sorely missed. Our sons are friends and I enjoyed every time we had a chance to speak. He was a terrific dad and a very warm person. Our family extends our deepest condolences to the Els family.
Posted by T Dentham on April 21, 2016
My thoughts and prayers to the Els family. It was an honor to work with Stephan. -Tahnika
Posted by Tammy Hallisy on April 20, 2016
I am so sad and shocked to hear about Stephen's passing. He was a very great guy and I always enjoyed working with him. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the family.
Posted by Wendi Berkman on April 19, 2016
Jocelyn, Jeff and I are so very sorry to hear about Stephan. You and the boys are in our thoughts and prayers.
Posted by eileen Desmond on April 19, 2016
John and I are so very sorry Jocelyn for you and your beautiful boys to have lost this wonderful man . Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, sending a lot of love to you.
Posted by Kerry Chope on April 17, 2016
I was fortunate to know Jocelyn when she had just met Steph, and they were just beginning to fall in love. It was an instant attraction which grew into a beautiful life together. Steph will surely be missed but I have no doubt he will continue to watch over the love of his life and his two boys as they continue to grow into strong young men. Love and prayers to the family, sending hugs.
Posted by Audette Exel on April 17, 2016
I am a friend of Hannes and Leonie, Stephan's brother and sister-in-law. I was lucky enough to meet Stephan a few times when he visited Hannes in Bermuda. He was always upbeat, so full of life, and so kind. The depth of love for Hannes, for his family, and later for his wife and children was so profound and strong. My heart goes out to all who loved him at this time of enormous loss. Love from Australia.
Posted by Michael Snow on April 16, 2016
Steph is one of my favorites . He showed no favoritism to any person as a friend. He was truly a great dad and friend. He was a great friend to me and always shined a special smile during dads night. I toast to you my brother. Miss you Brah.... .
Posted by Elena Arosemena on April 15, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with the Els family.

I worked with Stephan at Cox for several years and everyday you could count on Stephan to model the traits and characteristics of an exemplary leader and co-worker.

Stephan always balanced his knowledge and expertise with a genuine concern and respect for people, he was kind and caring. He listened and he was always willing to teach and/or explain his ideas, his recommendations and his concerns.

He will be dearly missed and always remembered. I am very sorry for your loss.
Posted by Aaron Szerlip on April 15, 2016
Stephan was a thoughtful and talented person who will be sorely missed. I truly enjoyed working with him at Cox.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Els family.
Posted by Carryn Whiteford on April 15, 2016
We are so shocked and saddened to hear of Stephan’s passing and have been at a loss for words. Stephan – you will be missed so much. You were such a gentle, kind and loyal friend, father and husband. We loved how you always honoured and remembered your South African heritage. Lee has fond memories of mountain bike riding with you and your mutual love of the outdoors. Know that your memory will live on and that we will always remember and miss you and be there for Jocelyn and the boys.

To Jocelyn, Stephan Louis and Hannes – we are so sorry for your loss. Please let us know if we can help in any way and at any time and know that we will always be here for you in any way you need us.

Stephan – rest in peace, our good friend, we will not say goodbye as we know we will see you again. All our love, Lee and Carryn
Posted by Belle Maritz on April 14, 2016
Life Goes On and So Does Laundry

It was a typical early Sunday afternoon up until Marcel received a call from a close friend with sad news... He informed Marcel one of our friends, Stephan, who was in South Africa visiting his sick mother, suddenly passed away during a jog.

When Marcel broke the news to me, I couldn't believe it! He had to repeat his name so many times until it finally hit me like a ton of bricks. Each time he said his name my breath escaped me, my stomach in knots and my eyes swelled with tears and the disbelief faded.

"Steph?... "


" Stephan?.. Our Steph? " As I repeat his name still in disbelief and in a frozen state. I thought he was mistaken, heard him incorrectly or this was a joke. But clearly as I looked at my husband's face, this was not the case.

"Stephan Els" he tells me using his last name this time.

How is this so?!  Steph is one of the strongest, athletic, adventurous men I know. Any land, air, or water activity that had "extreme" in it, he did it.

I remember one of his visits he decided to go snowboarding at our local mountain resort. Unprepared and his friends unable to lend him snow gear that would fit his Goliath legs, this man went snowboarding with nothing but a sweater, jeans and a long winter trench coat. Unfortunately, he had to cut his fun short due to a hard fall. He still managed to come back dry as a bone, even with a wipe out! I would've been drenched.

As our sad Sunday went on, Marcel looked at me as I folded a mountain high of laundry and said, "life truly does go on and so does laundry".
I've had many conversations with Marcel about our dads passing, only 3 months apart from each other, and how it felt like the entire universe should stop and mourn along with us. It was almost insulting that life went on and is going on when we were in so much pain. This feeling is true for me again with the loss of Stephan. Life went on... we watched our girls play with friends, laundry got folded and we watched as Danny Willett win the Masters on the same golf course that just a few years ago Marcel and I walked together with Stephan and his wife Jocelyn. Ironically, I posted photos of that event the day before his passing. 

Steph was admired by all. He was smart, artistic, adventurous, well traveled, a story teller, and probably next to me had the biggest sweet tooth. He made me and my two older kids feel welcomed when we were first introduced to Marcel's ginormous South African friends... Ok we're Asian, so everyone was ginormous to us but really, he was a big guy! He was one of the few people that took the time to get to know you. He was probably the only person that actually "took the time"... Not with a text but with a phone call. Not on any social media but an actual visit. He took the time to be present with whomever he was with and truly enjoyed the moment. Above all, Stephan was a loving and caring husband and father. 

I will forever cherish our last visit this past December. I will miss planning for our families to be together for Thanksgiving this year. I will miss our conversations, hearing him say my name in that deep friendly voice. I will miss him teasing me or I teasing him and his "bromance" with Marcel. I will miss him dearly.

I have been blessed with his constant friendship, having him as Hannah's godfather and will be forever grateful for bringing his family into our lives.

Rest in peace Stephan. When they lay you to rest Friday, life will go on as sad as it is, except there will be no laundry done. Only a braai, as you did every Friday in celebration of the weekend, and a good bottle of wine in your honor to celebrate you and your amazing life.
Posted by Clay Esterling on April 13, 2016
I'm so sorry for your loss. I worked with Stephan and admired his personality, intelligence, and sincerity everyday. He was a friend and mentor. He will be greatly missed.
Posted by Brian Starkes on April 13, 2016
I worked with Stephan a little over 4 years at Cox Communications. Stephan was extremely supportive of our area and partnered on many occasions to ensure quality products were delivered. Stephan would ensure that we had all the necessary tools to be successful. My thoughts and prayers are with the Els family. Stephan will truly be missed.
Posted by Graham Barrett on April 13, 2016
Living a full life is often described by the age of that person, or what they’ve accomplished during their life. But is it not more about the number of lives touched and blessed during that journey? Stephan, you lived a full life in a short time, and although we are heartbroken beyond words, we can still smile at every memory of you.
Posted by Nate Owen on April 13, 2016
My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to Stephan's family. I was a colleague of Stephan's at work and was truly fortunate to work with him very closely the last few years. I was fortunate still to spend a week with him on a trip to India early last year where we spent time on that trip talking shop, family, and experiences over great food and drink and it is truly a time I will never forget. His smile was infectious and he would laugh at my terrible jokes (usually it was then that I realized the joke was that much more terrible!). 

I'm truly truly blessed that he was a friend I could reach out to with questions and he would do the same and you felt personally responsible to ensure you answered his question with the most complete information because he would have done the same thing for you. 

Stephan, you are missed however we will have a beer together again one day.
Posted by Tracey Carothers on April 12, 2016
My heart is so heavy for your loss. I've worked with Stephan for the last 10 years and he has been an amazing friend, father and co-worker. He was so proud of his family and loved Jocelyn and the boys beyond measure. He always wanted to instill a love of the outdoors, of following adventure, to seek and be passionate in living. He was a great friend to me and to all that knew him. He worked hard, with a keen intelligence, an enormous amount of insight and strong problem solving skills. Much love to his wife, children and family spread throughout the globe. He was loved and will remain in our memories for life.
Posted by Lisa Smith on April 12, 2016
There aren't enough words to express the deepest sadness of the loss of an amazing husband and incredible father. Such a great person that will be terribly missed by us all. Jocelyn and their boys will be in our thoughts & prayers.
Posted by Mike Forsyth on April 12, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

I've worked with Stephan for around 10 years at Cox. Stephan was a caring, warm hearted leader and a great friend. During stressful times he always brought perspective, enthusiasm and a supportive spirit. He is a true role model. I especially remember the loyalty and kindness he showed toward co-workers. He will be greatly missed.
Posted by Douglas Jones on April 12, 2016
It is with great sadness to hear of Stephan’s passing and my thoughts go out to Jocelyn and the boys. I’ll remember him as the friendly, social and fun man he was. He will be missed.
Posted by Vasu Vasili on April 12, 2016
We are very sorry for your loss. I worked with Stephan and worked for him. He was a great boss, great friend, and an excellent mentor. Brilliant and kind, he was unique. I have learned a lot from him in these few years. He touched so many lives just in the work place, so many people contacted me yesterday to share their condolences. I will miss him greatly.
Posted by Gareth Morgan on April 12, 2016
Life is not fair when it takes an amazing person like this so early. Stephan loved being on the water and harnessing the power of the wind. I read a poem last night entitled "Gone from Sight" that gives me some hope in a time like this and will anchor the way I remember him.

" I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying.... "

Sail well my friend. If Heaven has water, I know you are already on it! You will be the North Sail of mine and many others for years and years to come. We will miss your beautiful smile and patient help and open heart but are stronger forever for the time we spent together with you.
Posted by Scott Mackay on April 12, 2016
Stephan was one of the first people I came to know at Cox. He was truly an extraordinary personally who was bright, honest, cheerful, and work focused. He will be missed greatly.
Posted by Danielle Safieh on April 12, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with the Els family as they go through this devastating time.

My name is Danielle and I worked with and for Stephan at Cox Communications. Stephan was not only a great mentor but my friend. I truly enjoyed working with him. When one spends so much time with a group of people day after day they slowly become your family, and that's exactly what Stephan was to us, family. I always enjoyed hearing stories of his trips back to South Africa, his boys, and his beautiful wife – nothing made him smile more (even during a work crisis) than talking about Jocelyn and his boys. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you must be going through right now, but please know, you have a group of people praying for your healing and comfort.

Stephan was loved by so many and will be extremely missed.

All my love and prayers, Danielle.

Cheers, to Stephan.
Posted by Emily Butler on April 12, 2016
We are so very sorry to learn of this tremendous loss. Stephan was the life of the party and always made us laugh. It was so obvious (and sweet) to see how much he loved Jocelyn, and even though we never met his boys, his face would literally light up when he talked about them. We are fortunate to have known him, even only for a short time. We have raised our glass in his honor (and not the cheap stuff either), I know he would have appreciated that! Please call on us anytime for any reason, we want to help in any way I can. Only love....Emily and Ted
Posted by Jeremy Welland on April 12, 2016
Jocelyn, we are so sorry for your loss. Our hearts and thoughts are with you, your boys and extended family. Jeremy, Christine, Tamu and Lula.
Posted by Lena Melamud on April 12, 2016
I am so very sorry to learn of this tremendous loss. My name is Lena Melamud. I worked with Stephan for over 9 years at Cox Communications. Stephan was a smart, intelligent, kind person and a pleasure to work with. He was an open minded person and always had a positive attitude. Stephan loved his boys very much. His face would literally light up when he talked about them.
My prayers are with his family during this difficult time. Stephan will be missed and remembered forever.
Posted by Rob Duijndam on April 12, 2016
It still all feels so unreal, so sorry for your great loss.

I will cherish the memories of our joined projects at Cox. Stephan for sure was an inspiring and warm person to work with.

Although he claimed a shared Dutch connection, it took me many efforts to let him pronounce my last name correctly.
I will keep him to his promise for a joined mountain bike ride, one day…
Posted by Kim Henderson on April 12, 2016
As a member of the Cox family, I can say so many of us here are in shock and heartbroken. Stephan was a role model to so many on how to be a true professional and yet a warm and caring soul. He will be missed by all. God Bless, Jocelyn and the boys.
Posted by Chris Porell on April 12, 2016
Our family is shocked and saddened at the news of the loss of our dear friend Stephan. He was incredibly kind, caring and generous - a true friend. Always willing to lend an ear and give advice, Stephan was a constant reminder that life is to be enjoyed and to focus on the things that really matter – family, friends, taking a little time for yourself and getting outside! I'll always remember his infectious smile and laugh. We'll miss the biking, camping and grilling. Mostly, we just miss you, Steph.

Jocelyn, Stephan Louis and Hannes – we love you dearly. It's no surprise such a wonderful family has so many friends, and we're happy to be counted among them. Anything we can do, just ask.

Chris, Mina, Ian and Marin
Posted by Jennifer Badenhorst on April 12, 2016
How privileged was Heinrich, Jan, Olivia and myself to have had some presious time with our dear friend. My heart breaks for your loss. What a beatiful legacy has Stephan left his family. You only have to read the tributes written by friends and family to know the great man he was. Stephan was the most kind hearted person I knew. We will be praying for the family. We especially think of you, Jocelyn and the boys. We will miss you dearly. Rest in peace.
Posted by Monique Pretorius on April 11, 2016
There are no words to describe the great loss we feel for Jocelyn, the boys and everyone who ever knew Steph. We will miss him terribly and the beautiful light he brought with him when he entered a room. We will celebrate and remember him always. All our love Lance, Monique, Ella and Liam
Posted by Brett Clarence on April 11, 2016
Stephan, you were the greatest friend one could have and I will miss you terribly. All of us need to live your lessons of taking care of the important things in life - family, friends and living out your adventures. I just can't believe you are gone. We will come together and make sure your cherished ones are loved and protected in this difficult time.
Posted by Adriane Simpson on April 11, 2016
My prayers are with your family during this trying time. I sit near Stephan's office at Cox and will certainly miss his friendly greetings every day as our paths crossed.
Posted by Mike Ramsey on April 11, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with you Jocelyn, Hannes, & Louis. I was a coworker of Stephan's and thought extremely much of him. He was a mentor and friend. I will miss him greatly.
Posted by Heinrich Badenhorst on April 11, 2016
There comes a time when God will lift His hand for a moment from our lives and the angel of death will give the order that it was our last act on earth.

On the 10th April 2016 he gave those orders that it will be our friend, brother and father, Stephan Els's last act on earth.

Steph was always a radiant man with an enthusiastic personality and a contagious smile. Steph was a total friend. We could trust him with literally everything, his support, understanding, reasoning, level headedness, optimism and commitment to his friends, which we will always cherish.

Together with his love, integrity, honesty and forthright manner, his faith and respect towards all, especially towards his parents and wife Jocelyn, was something special.

The Lord made ​​a decree that a gentle giant exchanged this world for eternal life.

Rest in peace our friend your memories are forever entrenched in our minds.

 We thank God that we had the privilege to know Steph for 36 years

From all his South African Brothers.
Posted by Max Immelman on April 11, 2016
Steph, I'm truly gutted. I have such fond memories of our friendship. Thank you for being an amazing human being. It was an honor and privilege to be your friend. You will be sorely missed!
Posted by Marc Joseph on April 11, 2016
Stephan, words just can't express how much you will be missed. You are the finest gentleman I have had the privilege of calling my friend, and we have all benefitted from your wisdom, level-headedness, sense of honor, and incredible enthusiasm for life. You made everyone better off for knowing you. Rest in peace, boet.

To Jocelyn, Stephan Louis, and Hannes, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Know that we will always be here for you.
Posted by Brendon Farrugia on April 11, 2016
Stephan was a wonderful guy and a great friend. Always had a smile on his face and actually cared about others. Enjoyed the rounds of golf and beers over the years. The world needs more guys like you Stephan. Thoughts and prayers for the family.
Posted by Luzette Els on April 11, 2016
Steph, I said everything to you when I hold your hand that day. You know the strength of our love and relationship. You knew where it started, I knew where it ended. I loved you. I learned from you while I guided you as an 8 year old boy. You were the best Elsie I knew. Thank you for the time you shared with me and my children. I only wish that the time they could spend with you could be more as you had so much to give and they still have so much to learn. So much love.
Posted by Kelly Carter on April 11, 2016
Jocelyn we are so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how you must be feeling. You family is in our thoughts and prayers and we are here to help in any way you need.
Posted by Robin Yorks on April 11, 2016
We are so saddened to hear of Stephan's passing.He was a wonderful person. All our thoughts and prayers go to his family. Jocelyn and boys we are here for anything you need. Bill,Robin and Sam.
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Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Heinrich Badenhorst on November 28, 2021
Still in our hearts and thoughts Steph!!
Posted by Marcel Maritz on April 10, 2021
The world has been a lonelier place the last five years. I miss you my friend but hope that you are looking down on all of us and know that you still impact our lives.
Posted by Betty Desmond on April 28, 2016
Dearest Jocelyn, we hold our memories of times together close to our hearts. Your Steph was a joy to our family and he wil be sorely missed. May God keep you & your boys safe and loving as you learn to continue on as Steph would want. We'll be in touch very soon. Love you lots.
Recent stories

swinging bench

Shared by Rob Duijndam on May 19, 2020
till next time......

swinging bench

Shared by Rob Duijndam on May 19, 2020
Just found your swinging bench at Murphey Candler Park.... I had a wonderful sunset view with my daughter from it.....thanks Boet!

Cox Football Pool

Shared by Todd Dean on April 25, 2016

A few years back Stephan began to participate in our inter-office college football gameday contest – a college football pick-em contest, strictly for fun, that we do every fall.

Stephan professed to know nothing about football, being from South Africa, and assured us he would be as bad at the picks as all of the rest of us.

He’s won the contest 3 out of the last 4 years and steadfastly refused to tell us his formula for picking the games.

He came in 2nd the one year he didn't win.