Born 9 July 1936 in Grass Valley, Oregon, to Merrill and Mal Berg Oveson, Stephen was the third child in a family of four. He grew up in Oregon, then attended Brigham Young University before serving in the Northern Mexican Mission from 1956 to 1959. Upon his return to BYU to study finance and banking, he met Dixie Randall of Tempe, Arizona. On 7 September 1960, they married in the Arizona Temple. After they graduated from BYU in 1961, they moved to Tempe. Brother Oveson spent the first ten years of his career in finance and banking. In 1970, he went to work for the founder of Granada Royale Hometels— the first all-suite hotel chain in the United States. This chain eventually became Embassy Suites. In 1985, Brother Oveson started his own hotel development and management company— Suite Thinking, Inc. Now residents of San Juan Capistrano, California, the Ovesons are the parents of six children, all sons, and grandparents of fifteen. With a family of boys, the Ovesons have always enjoyed sports and outdoor activities. Among their favorite memories over the last twenty-five years are yearly family vacations on Lake Powell and skiing trips to Utah. All of the boys have served missions.