IRON RIVER - Stephen V. "Steve" Shepich, 65, of Iron River, died peacefully at his home on Camp Lake, with his loving wife Jo by his side.
Steve was born Oct. 12, 1948, in Stambaugh, the son of Nancy (Jacobson) Shepich and the late Victor Shepich. He graduated from Stambaugh High School in 1966, and was an All-U.P. running back. At the age of 17, Steve attended Northern Michigan University on a football scholarship and graduated with a bachelor's degree in social work in 1972. For the next 10 years, he worked as a Community Mental Health Counselor in Iron River and Iron Mountain.
Steve furthered his education at Michigan State University where he obtained his master's degree in public administration. He was employed as a budget analyst for the Michigan House Fiscal Agency, overseeing budgets for the DNR and the Department of Agriculture. In 1993, he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, serving the 110th District. Steve was proud to be regarded as a staunch liberal Democrat. He believed in fighting for the underdog and in preserving and protecting our natural environment. Steve never forgot his U.P. roots and valued his Iron County community. He played a significant role in obtaining funding to develop the Apple Blossom Trail, the Caspian Ski Hill and current City Hall, and the Iron River RV Park.
Stephen V. Shepich
In 1995, after moving back to Iron County, Steve met the love of his life, Jo Werner, and together they created and developed The Depot Restaurant & Bakery in two renovated Long Island train cars. In 1999 Steve & Jo were married in Cozumel, Mexico. They were blessed to return to Mexico each year after that to bask in the sunshine and celebrate their love for each other. In 2005, they completed the historic renovation of the 1914 Train Station and opened "The Station" - a local establishment committed to promoting live music, sports of all kinds, good fun, good food, and a nice place for people to gather. Steve often joked that he had finally found the perfect job - bartending at The Station - watching and talking sports, listening to live music, serving drinks, and most of all connecting with people. He had the special gift of making people feel at ease and made friends easily with people from all walks of life. People gravitated towards him because of his big heart and his infectious smile.
Steve was a storyteller and a good one. He loved history and how it connected us. He could remember incredible details - and he could pull the most amazing facts out of his brain that would astound people. He had a passion for baseball - It was his favorite sport. As a boy, on warm summer nights, he listened to Detroit Tigers games on a transistor radio. Later on, he played fast-pitch softball and told stories about that time in his life, that would make you howl with laughter.
Music was a huge part of Steve's life and he was drawn to the Motown Sound, the Beatles, Barry White, The Four Seasons, Johnny Rivers, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, The Eagles, and Roy Orbison. He couldn't sing and he couldn't play an instrument, but he could dance and had incredible rhythm.
Steve loved and treasured his family. He often talked about "winning the parent lottery" - being raised by such a loving and involved Mom and Dad.
He adored his three brothers and was so proud of the fact that each of them - "just small town guys from Caspian" - achieved their master's level college degrees. His children and his granddaughters were the absolute joy of his life. He cherished his time with all of them. His perfect day was out on the lake on his pontoon boat, or sitting in front of the fireplace, surrounded by friends and family.
In June 2011, Steve was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia. In January 2012 he was the 10th person at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to receive a double umbilical cord stem cell transplant. He battled the disease with fortitude and bravery, and never lost his sense of humor. He embraced each day as a gift and learned to truly live in the moment. He was a real inspiration to many people and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Steve is survived by his wife, Jo; his mother, Nancy of Caspian; children, Stacie (Grant) Stanton of Barrington, Ill., Steven M. (Jackie) Shepich of Iron River, Scott M. (Shelby) Shepich of Gwinn, Seth Werner Turvey of Slidell, La., and Shawn Werner Turvey of Lajitas, Texas; three brothers, John (Linda) Shepich of Ludington, Gary (Mary) Shepich of Plainwell, and Paul (Diane) Shepich of Livonia; two granddaughters, Lucy and Maria Stanton; several nieces and nephews; two sisters-in-law, Darby Werner of Scotts Valley, Calif., Mimi Werner of Polson, Mont.; brother-in-law, Ted (Alexis) Werner of Rialto, Calif.; and special friends, Greg and Debbie Bastian of Spread Eagle, Wis., Kim Collier-Hartjes and Greg Hartjes of Long Lake, Wis., and Paul and Joy DeNicola of Iron River.
There will be a Celebration of Life service to honor Steve on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. at The Station in Iron River. Pastor Dawn Treado Green from the First Presbyterian Church of Iron County will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to "The Steve Shepich Memorial" which will go towards a memorial bench on the Apple Blossom Trail.
Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 82, Iron River, MI 49935, or made directly to the Co-Vantage Credit Union account in Iron River.
Condolences may be expressed to the family of Stephen "Steve" Shepich online at www.nashfuneralhome.net.
The family has entrusted the Nash Funeral Home of Crystal Falls with the arrangements.