Submitted by his wife
Steve fell in love with the fire service at an early age. His favorite TV show was ‘Emergency!’ and he wanted to grow up to be just like Johnny and Roy. Steve completed paramedic school in 1988. He worked for a private ambulance company for several years. In November 1992 his lifelong dream was finally fulfilled. He was hired by the Novato Fire Protection District.
He is survived by his wife‚ Catherine. Catherine was a chemist with the US Department of Justice for 14 years. Because Steve had a financial plan‚ and also due to the generosity of the public‚ Catherine was able to leave her job to be home with the children. Steve and Catherine have two children‚ Kerstin and Wesley. Kerstin was born in 1996 and Wesley was born in 2001.
As eulogized by Fire Chief Jeffrey A. Meston‚ Novato Fire Protection District No one loved his job more than Steve Rucker‚ who by virtue of genetics and upbringing was destined to become a firefighter. Saving lives was a reflection of his love for his own family‚ his large extended family‚ and his community. He loved the paramedic calls‚ the adrenaline rush of firefighting‚ and seeing kids’ faces each year as he handed out the holiday toys he had collected. He bought a pickup truck just to make his toy drive rounds.
A family man‚ Steve was devoted to his wife‚ Catherine. ‘Anything I asked of him he did‚’ she said. Together‚ they put their children first; seven-year old Kerstin and two-year old Wesley. Their son’s middle name‚ Evan‚ was in memory of a 19-month old Novato boy who Steve had been unable to save after drowning. Naming their newborn Evan honored this child and kept alive his memory. No one was surprised.
At 38‚ Steve was one of the most popular guys in the Novato firehouses. He and Cathy and the children had just moved into a new home two blocks from Station No. 4. ‘He was the real deal‚’ said his older brother‚ Robert Rucker. ‘He was the last Boy Scout who never stopped doing the good deed.’
Steve is survived by his wife‚ Catherine‚ and their children Kerstin and Wesley; his parents‚ Darrell and Patricia Rucker of Fremont‚ CA; his brother Robert Rucker‚ of Santa Clarita‚ CA; two sisters‚ Starla Lincoln of Manteca‚ CA and Robin Reinders of Santa Clara‚ CA; two nieces; four nephews; two aunts and one uncle; his wife’s parents‚ Lester and Gloria Carlson of Novato; and his wife’s brother‚ Brent Carlson‚ also of Novato.
Steve’s life and death are reminders of the sacrifices made by the men and women who make up the kinship of the fire service. He lost his life on the wind-whipped California ridge (during the Cedar Fire in San Diego County). The men beside him very nearly lost theirs. Steve was one of our best. He is mourned by a nation.