Steven Brien Estey, age 60, of Dartmouth Nova Scotia, passed away at the Dartmouth General Hospital on Monday, September 11th, 2023

Steve has left us too soon, but not before making an indelible mark on his family, his friends, and the disability community which he tirelessly served. Steve was well known for so many things, but his eloquence, his sense of humour and his calm manner all drew a wide range of people to him, and resulted in many lifelong and important friendships.

Steve was a Newfoundlander, always delighted to say that he was born in St. John’s. In 1968, his family moved to Nova Scotia, and Steve grew up in Truro. He was a proud Xaverian, with a bachelor’s in philosophy from St. Francis Xavier, and a master’s degree in international development from St. Mary’s, both in Nova Scotia.

It was through his studies, and work with the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) that Steve began his 30+ year career working to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities around the world.

In 2003 Steve worked as an advisor to the Canadian Government delegation to the United Nations, which drafted the new Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). After carrying this work to its successful conclusion in 2006, Steve took on central roles at the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and Disabled Peoples’ International, a Canadian based NGO. From there he consulted on and led work aimed at the effective implementation of the CRPD, and the full realization of disability rights around the world.

Steve became well known around the world as a quiet force to be reckoned with in the disability’s community. He received many awards and commendations, too numerous to mention, for his passion and capability, but will ultimately be remembered for this deep humanity and humility.

Steve and his wife Anne moved around the country, living in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Chelsea, before returning home to live in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In the communities where he lived, he was active politically, and supported many local charities as a resource and trusted advisor.

Family was incredibly important to Steve. In 2003, Steve and Anne adopted their son Isai, completing their family and bringing new joy to their world. He always remained incredibly close to his siblings and felt keenly the loss of his brother Dave in 2015.

Steve is survived by Anne MacRae, his wife of 25 years, and his son Isai. He is also survived by his mother, Dolores (Dee), his sister Jane, and his sister-in-law Sylvia. He also leaves beloved sisters and brothers-in-law, and many, many nieces and nephews. Steve was predeceased by his beloved father Malcolm (Mac), brother and great friend David, and his infant son Thomas.

Steve was a lifelong supporter of L’Arche, an organization that creates communities of friendship and belonging. In L’Arche, across Canada and around the world, people with and without intellectual disabilities live, work, learn, and grow together. L’Arche demonstrates that when persons with intellectual disabilities take their place at the table, they contribute to a more just, compassionate, and vibrant world for all.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to L’Arche Halifax, a L’Arche community of your choosing (L'Arche Canada - Home (, or a charity of your choosing.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, September 19th at 2:00PM in the chapel at the Atlantic Funeral Home, 771 Main Street, Dartmouth, NS. Visitation will be held in the same location on Sunday, September 17th from 2:00PM – 4:00PM, and Monday, September 18th from 6:00PM – 8:00PM.