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Stephen Turpie

Death Notice
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Stephen Craig Turpie

On March 24, 2013, Stephen Craig Turpie passed from this earth, leaving many, many friends and relatives blessed to have known him and happy to have shared their lives with him. "Turp" was born in San Diego on May 9, 1945, to Marylee and William Turpie. After graduating from Helix High School, he attended Monmouth College in Illinois for a year and then joined the Army, where he was awarded a Silver Star for valor in Vietnam. He was seriously wounded in combat, earning him a Purple Heart. His arm would never bend after that, but no one would know it unless they saw him catch a softball or swing a golf club, both of which he was able to do in fine Turpie fashion.


Steve earned a bachelor's degree from San Diego State and a law degree from Hastings College of the Law. He immediately passed the California bar, and shortly thereafter, to the amazement of his friends and classmates, went to sea as a Merchant Marine. Whenever he returned to California, he would pick up legal work, which he handled with skill and aplomb for everyone fortunate enough to employ him.


In 1990, he married Randy Doering. They moved to Eureka, Montana, where Turp designed and built a log home on the shores of Glen Lake. Together, the Turpies formed the non-profit organization "Friends of the Shelter," which has saved hundreds of animals in need over the past 13 years. In 1999, Steve and Randy returned to the Bay Area, where he became an assistant manager for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy on Crissy Field and then a project manager for the National Park Service.


Steve was a founding member of the Hastings Rugby Club in 1973, and the Hastings Old Boys in 1978. He was an outstanding player, who remained active until the Old Boys' last game in 2000, when he was 55 years old. For every teammate who came up with him or came after him, Turp was an inspiration.


Steve was a lover of nature, soccer, the Giants, carpentry and working in the yard. He was devoted to his wife and animals, particularly his birds. He had an insatiable thirst for experience and knowledge. He loved women and women loved him. He was funny, pithy, and exceptionally perceptive. There was no greater reward for telling a joke than to see his cracked smile and twinkling blue eyes.


Steve was diagnosed with cancer several years ago and fought it valiantly. He approached the end as he did everything in life, on his own terms. When he succumbed, he did so with grace and dignity. He will be forever missed and forever admired by all who knew him.


He is survived by his loving wife Randy, his brother Bill, his nephew Brad, his niece Sarah, and his aunt and uncle, Naomi and Austin Mason. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor may be sent to the San Diego Zoo or Hospice by the Bay.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 7, 2013
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