1st. January 1964 - 20th. October 2018
(aka Bobby Stepanian)...
Wrestler Coach Brother ...
Celebrating his Life...
1st. January 1964 - 20th. October 2018
Services Saturday 27th. October 2018. 11am
St. Luke's Orthodox Church Garden Grove OC CA.
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Notes from Chris Lorefice WWB / SoCal WC
Notes from Josh Watkins
I met Steve in my first Gay Games in Chicago. His sly charisma hooked me right off. He was the guy that you wanted to help. He was also the guy that asked a lot of things, and came up with a lot of ideas. So after wrestling with my Chicago team in Veteran's Nationals, I stayed around for a few more days to celebrate his birthday in Vegas. One of the great things about Steve was it was his birthday when ever we were in Vegas, and that could clearly be different times of the year.
We had a great time going into the Hard Rock Cafe Casino's pool. Steve got us in and past security with his charm of course, and we ended up spending the day with a National League Baseball player who was on injured reserve, but also on the cover of Men's Fitness as a Fitness Model. Needless to say the guy was flawless and we had girls swarming all over us. I had my weight class still on my arm in Sharpie, and Steve made it sound like I had just won the Olympics. I also had my Chicago Wrestling Club business cards with my name on them, which Steve gave to all of the promoters. I ended up getting free shorts and other items to use in my club to try to promote their brand. Honestly, it felt like my birthday.
I ended up getting separated from Steve and my phone was dead. I got kicked off the property because there was no Steve Pezzoli registered at the hotel. Luckily my new found fame served me well, and a group of MMA fighters I had met took me back to their hotel. It wasn't until the next day that I learned Steve had an alternate identity as Bobby Stepanian, and why.
Besides his charm, it was really his demeanor on the mats that I respected most. I wrestled him often, and because of the size difference, I often beat him. He took it in stride every time and was always the perfect sport on and off the mat. His energy in encouraging others to wrestle is where he really shined. He would do exhibition matches with anyone, especially if that someone didn't have someone else to wrestle. So this meant women when they were the only ones in their division, young guys that didn't have enough matches, or older guys that just wanted to relive their wrestling days and not get hurt.
I really feel we have lost a great representative of the sport of wrestling and a great friend. He was always there, and always wanted to hang out. Now that he is gone, I wish I still had more weekends with him in Vegas, or more tournaments with him to wrestle.
Notes from Gene Dermody GGWC
I have known Steve for about 15 years now, and it has been a contentious journey that has evolved from my absolutely detesting him to his becoming one of my best friends. Steve had many demons that animated or depressed his behavior, and in the end they took his sweet spirit. In the end, the stress of having his hours cut back at work and turning 50 finally got to him. He was so proud and independent that he would not accept help. I have lost a brother in arms whom I loved dearly, A kindred spirit who understood me, and actually knew how get me to go out and enjoy life.
Steve loved to celebrate birthdays in Las Vegas, and my fondest birthday memory is of being introduced to UFC fighter Uriah Faber at the Hard Rock Cafe by Steve. He also was very forward when he zeroed in on someone he knew was a wrestler. We were at the MonteCarlo using the ubiquitous free passes Steve always had for everything, when he spotted this recently married young couple still in wedding drag in our queue. The couple were wearing Marionite Crosses which Steve knew well as a Syrian Orthodox. The dialog went so fast... Canadian, Lebanese, Marionite Chritians, and of course the dude was a wrestler! Within minutes they were both on the luxurious MontCarlo carpet grappling. The wife was just stunned, having not known about her new husband's predilection for wrestling, and could not decide if she liked it or not! It drew a crowd, but we did not get arrested. It was par for a wild weekend in Las Vegas with Steve.
In the last 5 years, Steve and I spent a lot of time together in Palm Springs as I hunted for a retirement condo, and looked in on the legendary Gay Games icon Paul Mart who was in an assisted living facility there. Paul and Steve were comical as they both enjoyed terrorizing the patrons of 'StreetBar' whenever Paul would escape the facility. Paul was 50 years older than Steve, and we celebrated Paul's 100th birthday last month. Paul died in his sleep a week before Steve died.
Steve and I spent many hours discussing his faith, family, sexuality, and where he 'fit in'. While I am 20 years older than Steve, he struck me as someone much older than even me with his values and beliefs. I was impressed by his mastery of and respect for old school Catholic / Orthodox dogma as it related to the egalitarian directives to love and help one another. Steve took it quite seriously, was always volunteering or donating $$ or time to some worthy cause, and it was commendable because he really could not afford to do it. When my mother passed in 2016, Steve was there with the support/distraction I needed to avoid the depression I kept falling into. But Steve also had difficulty reconciling those other contradictory dogmas, was always looking for new answers, and could not subscribe to my 'cafeteria Catholic' approach to life.
It was his love of Wrestling that kept him sane, focused, and happy. He coached a lot of military guys at various OC Dojos or his living room in Chino. Most recently he reached the pinnacle of his competitive career by taking a Gold in FreeStyle and a Silver in Grappling at 2018 Paris Gay Games X.
Within months, Steve gave his coveted Paris Gold Medal in a genuine show of love and respect to Paul Mart on Paul's 100th birthday. Steve was alway there, COMPETING in every WWB tournament... HillSide, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Cleveland, Paris, etc.. Wrestlers WithOut Borders will miss him most.