KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The family of Stephen Chen and leading mattress manufacturer MLILY USA has announced that non-profit “Special Spaces” has been chosen as the recommended recipient for donations for those wishing to honor the memory of its former president, who passed away on Jan 21st. The organization was selected because it was a special part of Chen’s life.
Special Spaces is a not-for-profit 501 (C) (3) headquartered here and is dedicated to creating dream bedrooms for children fighting cancer. The goal is to provide these children with a special place where they can not only sleep, but also play, heal and spend time away from the challenges of their illness.
MLILY USA began its partnership with the organization in 2019 as the two companies share a common mission of changing lives one bed at a time. The company has contributed financially and donated products as part of many philanthropic initiatives to the group.
A memorial service for Chen was held at the West Towne Christian Church, where he was also an avid volunteer. Ron Bull, resource minister for the church knew Chen for more than 25 years and said he was “the guy that always made the atmosphere better. He was incredibly giving and so thoughtful. He was always pouring himself into others.”
During the eulogy, Stephen’s son, Tyler, described his father as “independent and savvy, someone who balanced passion and focus with humor.” Tyler also said his father had a “knack for linking a resource with a need,” which is exactly what Chen did when he aligned MLILY with Special Spaces.
“The MLILY family continues to mourn the death of Stephen,” said Glen Kobylarczyk, vice president of sales, MLILY USA. “He was a man of great character and a wonderful leader who will be sorely missed. Not only was he the face of MLILY but he had a true passion for the brand. Stephen shared that passion as he led the company’s support for Special Spaces, to help change children’s lives. The cause was near and dear to his heart. We will honor him by continuing that passion with our renewed commitment to the organization in his name.”
Chen joined MLILY in 2014 and held a succession of sales and management posts for the company. He is credited with leading MLILY USA’s growth over the last several years including expanding its retail base from a handful of independent dealers to more multi-store chains and regional players.
Chen is survived by his wife, Patty, and the couple’s five children – Tyler, Jamie, Zach, Kenna and Jordan, four grandchildren, two older brothers and his parents.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Special Spaces. Donors are encouraged to include Chen’s name in the comments section of the donation.