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Steven Alan Tarnoff
August 17, 1950 ~ October 12, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old
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The world lost a truly amazing individual on October 12, 2023. Steven Alan Tarnoff had been fighting leukemia for over a year before suddenly passing due to complications.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Steve grew up surrounded by his loving Mom and Dad, Ida and Joe Tarnoff, amazing aunts, uncles, and grandparents. He frequently would say if love was money, he grew up the richest person in the world. He would spend his summers in Atlantic City where his grandparent’s ran a boarding house. Steve would get up with the sun and collect bottles off the beach, saving up for an exotic pet; an alligator that he kept for several years before his Dad had him donate it to the Philadelphia Zoo. The family would also spend one week a year in the Pocono’s where his dad instilled a love for boating and fishing.
While not a fabulous student by his own reckoning, he still loved to tell the story about being accepted into Villanova University. The acceptance resulted in him losing a bet to his dad about where he would be attending college, as Steve had been absolutely confident he would never get into such a prestigious school. However, he graduated Villanova with three degrees; Education Science, History, and Military Science. At commencement, he was awarded the Distinguished Naval Graduate Award; 1 of only 20 awarded that year throughout the entire United States. After a brief opportunity to follow his true passion as a history teacher for Junior High and High School, he was called up to serve his country, fighting in Vietnam. Steve spent three tours as a Naval Weapons Officer aboard the John Paul Jones, as well as inland at Quang Tri, Vietnam. His final year in the Navy was spent in JAG training. Upon being honorably discharged, Steve was hired by Hoechst Pharmaceutical where he remained for 21 years, working in a variety of positions but most notably as Governmental Affairs Manager. After retiring from Hoescht, Steve and his three best friends used their combined expertise to found The Franklin Group, where they spent 11 more years doing regulatory law consulting for a multitude of other pharmaceutical companies. In his combined years in the pharmaceutical industry, Steve was responsible for bringing many life-saving medications to market by gaining FDA approval.
Steve overcame many challenges in his life, including surviving a commercial airline crash in 1981; he was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism for saving the life of the only other survivor of that crash.
Steve was blessed to have met his soulmate and love of his life in the summer of 2019. Robin and Steve found in each other true acceptance, strength, compassion, adventure, and of course incredibly powerful love; things they had not experienced previously in life. They were inseparable from the time they met, and were blessed to have married in February 2022. They spent time together rehabbing his home in NJ, hiking anywhere they could, antiquing and cooking together. Robin taught him the joy of fostering animals (although he completely admitted he was terrible at it; he wanted to keep EVERY single one they took in!).
In early 2023, they left NJ and moved to Steve’s dream house and property in Tennessee. He had a few wonderful months being able to enjoy lake life and spending as much time as possible in the Great Smoky Mountains, specifically Cades Cove, looking for the amazing wildlife there. He was like a little boy whenever they would find bear or coyote – literally jumping out of the car to take pictures or videos!
Steve truly spent his entire life helping and serving others, and making a difference in the lives of those he touched. His passing is a loss of a great light from the world.
Steve was predeceased by his beloved son, Harrison, in 2001, but would be the first to tell you what an absolute blessing and a joy he had been in his life, and how much Harrison taught him. Steve is survived by his adoring wife, Robin, his three stepchildren, Zach, Connor and Jonas Reinhart, his beloved grandson, Hayden Brown, who made him the proudest Pop-Pop in the world; his crazy dogs and cats, and more friends that he loved like family than can be listed.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to: Brindle Buddies and Friends, Kutztown, PA, (610) 533-4141, Brindle_buddies@aol.com.