Stephen Poplin

Obituary of Stephen Poplin

August 11, 1952 – December 31, 2017


Stephen Stott Poplin, 65, died unexpectedly at his Santa Cruz home on the morning of December 31, 2017. Steve was born in Provo, Utah to parents Robert and Hope Poplin. The family moved to Ukiah in 1965 where he and his twin brother, Stan, were part of a local band; Steve on drums, Stan on bass. While studying music at Foothill College in the early 1970's Steve was drafted. He opposed the Viet Nam war and became a conscientious objector, completing his alternate service as a janitor and nurse assistant at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose. It was there that he discovered his calling, and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing at San Jose State University. Steve worked in healthcare for 44 years. In 1982 he moved to Bend, Oregon where he excelled as a flight nurse in the medical evacuation unit of St. Charles Medical Center, providing inter-hospital transfers and emergency care primarily to victims of vehicle, hunting and hiking accidents. Steve found joy and solace with his children and in the outdoors. He spent as much time in his garden, and in the Oregon wilderness as possible. In 2003, Steve moved to Santa Cruz to be with his sweetheart, Kathy, and closer to his brother, Stan. Here he found his ideal final position as a nurse in the pre- and post-operative care unit of Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center, retiring in 2016. He loved to help people understand their medical conditions and did so with humor and compassion.


He was greatly loved and will be sorely missed by his partner of 14 years, Kathy O'Hara, sons Nate and Aaron, daughter-in-law Whitney, his two granddaughters who were the loves of his life, surviving brothers Stan and Mel, sisters Diane and Laura, and many friends and relatives. He was pre-deceased by his brother Bob.


A celebration of his life is planned on April 14, 2018.