Stephen E. Popper passed away on Monday, August 15, 2022, at St. Catherine’s Manor in Washington Court House, OH, after a brief illness. At the time of his death, he was Director of Occupational Medicine with Bon Secours Mercy Health in Springfield, OH.
He was born on May 4, 1951, in San Francisco, CA, and also grew up in Endicott, NY, and San Jose, CA. He attended high school in San Jose, CA, graduating in 1969. He loved the boy scouts growing up and learning about nature. He enjoyed music, writing songs, photography, and researching antique military weapons.
Before graduating high school, he contacted a senator and had his name nominated in Congress to be admitted to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. He was accepted, graduating in 1973 with a degree in Astronautical Engineering. He was a graduate of Des Moines University, College of Osteopathic Medicine class of 1985, and Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Fairborn, OH, with a residency in Psychiatry 1985-1988. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health.
He retired with over 28 years of military service with a career spanning munitions maintenance, engineering, and as a physician, being a Senior Flight Surgeon. He earned jump wings (free fall), the explosive ordinance disposal badge, as well as publishing/presenting over 30 aeromedical research papers. He worked in the Aerospace Systems Division managing contracts on cruise missiles. The work was classified as it involved the delivery systems of nuclear weapons. After retirement he started a new career as an occupational medicine physician for 25+ years, finally residing in Washington Court House, OH. His staff at Bon Secours Mercy Health was like a second family and was dearly loved by him.
He was an avid fitness and work-out advocate his entire life, always setting a good example himself, for his patients and friends and encouraged them to do their best. He believed a fit body was a much healthier body. He enjoyed boxing, and competed and won some Golden Glove competitions.
He will be remembered for his many community contributions, including volunteer high school sports-physical doctor, seven years volunteering as team physician for Friday night high school football for South Gallia High School, serving as a Sunday school teacher, mentor to countless kids and young adults, as well as a soccer coach. He also helped rescue countless animals, including cats, dogs, and horses. He was a huge supporter of Standardbred Retirement Foundation, who rescues retired, in-need, and abandoned Standardbred horses. He was an animal lover, and his own beloved pet family included rescued German Shepherd, Jester, kitty, Venus, and Standardbred horses, Ethan, Muppet, and Moon as well as many others over the years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Beverly Popper of San Jose, CA, and brother, John Popper. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl, and step-children, Denny Daugherty, Darrin Daugherty, and Dana (Patrick) Conley. He was looking forward to the birth of his first step-grandchild, Iris Mae Conley, due later this year. He is also survived by brother-in-law, Charles (Pam) Haislip Jr. of Artemas, PA, and his sister, Peggy (Raymond) Tomasso of San Jose, CA, and their children as well as cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is also survived by a dear friend of many years, Stephen Kuglin, of CA.
The funeral will be a private family service, at Stephen’s request, on August 17, 2022. Father C.M. Haddad will preside. Stephen will receive full military honors, including a 21-gun salute for his service to this country. Toward the end of his life, Stephen embraced the Roman Catholic Faith.
Kirkpatrick Funeral Home in Washington Court House, OH, will be handling the arrangements, and he will be laid to rest in Washington Cemetery Veterans’ Section, Washington Court House, OH.
Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to http://tunnel2towers.org, 2361 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306, or https://adoptahorse.org/ Standardbred Retirement Foundation, SRF Farm, 42 Arneytown-Hornerstown Rd, Cream Ridge, NJ 08514.