1952 - 2021
ROTHENBERG Steven Alan Rothenberg With gratitude for the life they shared, Margaretta, Ben, and Maria announce that their husband and father, Steven Alan Rothenberg, died in the early on February 1, 2021. Steve was brilliant, fun, creative, adventurous, and above all kind. He was born in Miami Beach on May 25, 1952, to David Rothenberg and Shirley Dooley Rothenberg. After two years at the University of Florida, Steve graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago Law School. He began his career at the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1977 and later worked at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation before joining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Steve met Margaretta McFarland exiting the CAB one day in the summer of 1980, and started a conversation that continued for decades. They were married at St. Thomas Apostle Church in October 1983. Marrying Steve was the smartest thing Margaretta has ever done. After losing their son James Francis to prematurity in 1985, future pregnancies were high-risk. In his efforts toward "positive outcomes" during subsequent pregnancies, Steve created an optimistic, nurturing environment: he planted a rose garden to fill the home with fresh flowers and brought a gift for the baby every week as a symbol that all would be well. It was: their son Ben was born in 1987 and their daughter Maria in 1989. Giving Steve the "New Spirit of Fatherhood" award in 1991, Working Mother magazine wrote: "You wouldn't know that behind Steve's low-key exterior is a man who went to heroic extremes to create this family." Those "heroic extremes" settled into years of equally devoted parenting. Steve shared his love of live music, telling stories of seeing Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, and The Animals and, in a particularly infamous moment, taking a two-year-old Maria to a Pink Floyd concert. Steve became an avid Flyers fan during their "70s heyday and took his family to games at the Spectrum each season. Once Ben was old enough to play hockey, Steve routinely woke up before dawn to schlep Ben and his goalie equipment to 5:45 a.m. games. Though Steve coached Bens' Little League teams for years, his greatest baseball successes were in the watching of it, going with Ben to all 30 Major League ballparks and teaching Maria to keep score as they watched the Orioles. With each passing year, Steve and Margaretta grew more grateful for their lives together. After 35 years of Federal service, Steve retired from FERC so he and Margaretta could concentrate on adventures and togetherness. With Steve's camera snapping, they saw penguins in Tierra del Fuego, polar bears on Hudson Bay, big cats and elephants in the Okevango Delta and gorillas in the Ugandan mountains. They enjoyed the music in Galway, the fjords of Norway and the grass of Wimbledon. They treasured National Parks, including Bryce, Death Valley, and the Everglades. Perhaps their favorite place on the planet was Great Falls Park in Virginia: taking in the beautiful scenery followed by lunch was a perfect day. His photos on their home's walls show their many adventures. Steve took pride in being "the big brother" to four sisters, and his younger brother and best friend, Brad. His nieces and nephews were among his favorite people in the world. In addition to practically every classic rock musician on his iPod, Steve had mourned the loss yet kept alive the love of his parents; his infant son, James Francis; his nephew, Brian Davis; his stepfathers, Sigge Malmstrom and Lawrence Lucas; and his parents-in-law, Harry and Margy McFarland. Joining Margaretta, Ben, and Maria in their sweet sorrow are Steve's siblings: Melanie Davis and her husband Mike; Lisa Reisner and her husband Fritz; Brad Rothenberg and his wife Amy; Heather Rothenberg and her wife Ellie Schafer; and Jennifer Rothenberg; his stepmother Trudy Rothenberg; his siblings-in-law, Henry and Mary Ann McFarland; his nieces and nephews: Team Davis: Matthew and Megan; Team Marchette: Leah and Jerid Blankenship, David, and Kelley and Ethan Marine; Team Rothenberg: Paul and Yohana, Will and Eileen, and Taylor Rothenberg-Manley and Robert Manley; and, Team McFarland: Bridget and Raphael Hedjazi; Matt and Stephanie Merry; Brendan and Amy, and Eileen; his crew of great nieces and nephews: Mia and Penelope Marine; Levi and Grayson Rothenberg; Alice and Hope Hedjazi; Penn McFarland; and Brynja Rothenberg. Steve's amazing brain was unable to overcome the barrage of neurological insults that hit in November 2020. Hecame home to hospice care in early January and spent his final weeks enjoying visits and calls from family and friends. Fittingly, the last meal was a favorite: a chocolate milkshake delivered by his cherished sister-in-law, Ellie. Befitting his late-in-life affinity for moviegoing, Steve's curtain fell in an absurdly cinematic sequence: with Margaretta, Ben, Maria, and his adoring pup Betty by his side as snow gently fell outside, Steve's iPod shuffled to The Beatles' "Here, There, and Everywhere," the song he'd picked for his first dance with Margaretta at their wedding 37 years earlier. Each one believing that love never dies, we said our goodbyes as he peacefully, quietly, and contentedly faded out. Due to the pandemic, there will not be an immediate public gathering to celebrate Steve's life. We encourage anyone who wishes to honor him to raise a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper in his memory. Due to the pandemic, there will not be an immediate public gathering to celebrate Steve's life. We encourage anyone who wishes to honor him to raise a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper in his memory.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The Washington Post on Feb. 5, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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3 Entries
The Buchman Family
February 7, 2021
I met Steve when he was a teenager and later became his stepmother upon marrying his father. When you know and love someone as I did Steve, the "step" part just floated away and we were and are family. So many stories come to mind including our continuing rivalry
between UF v FSU, his and his family's attendance at every significant familial event no matter the mode or travel distance involved and his seemingly quiet demeanor. Underneath that outward appearance was a man with an intelligence and sharp wit rarely witnessed but always appreciated by those around him. His wife, Margaretta, and his children, Ben and Maria are a testament to his true character and values and carry on his legacy of kindness and caring for all. Wherever your atoms take you Steve, you are loved and adored by all the Rothenbergs.
Trudy Rothenberg
February 5, 2021
This is a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person. You are in my thoughts. Love to all.
Alex Lipow
February 4, 2021
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