Steven Lee Rubcic called in his final “10-42” on Monday, Nov. 30, in Las Vegas. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, friend, brother and son. He was a rose grower and an animal lover. He was an antique restorer, a storyteller and a treasure hunter. He was a life saver and a first responder. He was a believer in aliens, Bigfoot and ghosts. He always sought the good and doggedly hunted the bad. He was the best man we ever knew.
How do you write about someone so profoundly important to every life he touched? How do you adequately pay tribute? We’ll start with a quote he left for us: “Life’s journey is circular, it appears. The years don’t carry us away from our fathers. They return us to them.”
The past few weeks as we’ve helped Dad through his final battle, we have all grown closer to him and to one another. It was his final gift and lesson for all of us. Dad believed that something good would come from every day. He reminded us that on the darkest of days, we may have to look hard, but those would be the days followed by the brightest stars. Our stars are our memories of a man we loved, who loved us in return, his words that will forever support and sustain us and show us the way to move forward, and two wonderful sisters with whom we are privileged to have shared his life.
Dad was a talented storyteller. Whether truth or fiction, Dad could weave a tapestry of words that would captivate even the most skeptical of souls. His best stories were those closest to his heart and those that tormented his soul. Through his mountain man stories, editorials, memorial books, bulletin boards, words of wisdom, and finally the culmination of his life’s work, “One Small Cemetery,” Dad shared his soul and wisdom with anyone brave enough to turn a page. His last work, though never fully finished, will weigh on the hearts and souls of many for years to come.
Several years ago, Dad reminded all of us that “while they are nice, material items — such as fancy cars, big houses and high paying jobs — don’t make the person … pride, honesty, respect and family are what makes the person.” This is why to so many he was considered the best man they ever knew. Truer words were never spoken. Dad was a man of few words, but when he spoke, you’d better believe people listened, and what he did made all the difference. He was a loving and devoted man who was always willing to give everything he had to brighten someone’s day.
Dad wasn’t afraid to darken a doorway either. Throughout his years in law enforcement, he darkened many doorways, always searching for truth and justice while striving to “speak for the victim.” Still, he cautioned us to “always treat everyone with respect. Friend or foe, whether they act like they recognize it or not, they will never forget how you treated them and in the long run, it will pay off for you.” Dad did this, too. Even his greatest foes could attest that he was respectful and kindhearted.
Dad loved his friends and cherished the memories of time spent with them in the desert, in the mountains, on the hunt, or on patrol. He considered his friends carefully and believed the best ones were hard to come by. Dad believed that with your friends, you should always be honest and kind, give assistance when you can, keep confidence, assist without being asked, and never expect anything in return. You’d know a good friend if they did the same for you. If asked, Dad would say “I’m loyal to my friends and feared by my enemies (maybe not feared but I darn sure make them uncomfortable).” Dad would never leave a good friend behind. If you’re reading this, you probably considered him a friend. If you’re an enemy, don’t worry, he won’t leave you behind either.
Dad always believed that you should “do your share and then some.” Something that he put into practice through a life of service. Like a typecast character in a play, he moved from one role to another in his unending drive to serve his community and those around him.
Dad began his career in law enforcement in 1974, when he was hired as the chief of police for the Lyman Police Department. He continued to serve his community in various positions, including as deputy sheriff and later as sergeant of investigations for the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office, as an investigator for the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, as a probation and parole officer for the State of Wyoming, and as a private investigator after his retirement.
Throughout all of these years, Dad stood side by side with the love of his life, Cheryl, meticulously restoring antique furniture for their business, Furniture Fixin’s. Together they breathed new life into the old and broken bones of many precious family heirlooms. Each piece reflects their love for one another and their dedication to beauty, quality, pride, and simplicity. That work soothed his soul and was a passion he had recently found his way back to. The beautiful pieces they created together will be passed down for generations, just like the stories of this incredible man.
In 2005, with immense courage and an adventurous spirit, Dad left everything he had known and loved for 58 years behind to serve the people of Afghanistan. There, he gave five years of his life, training the Afghani police force and providing security services to a nation of souls who didn’t know him. While in Afghanistan, Dad met the Governor of Helmand Province, Engineer Daoud, and often discussed with him “the vast differences in their cultures.” He enjoyed the food, the friendship, the lessons he learned, and the friends he made there, and spoke of them often and fondly.
Most recently, Dad served the community of Las Vegas as a security guard at Red Rock Casino. He was loved by his coworkers. Always willing to offer words of wisdom or advice, Dad encouraged everyone to “praise your co-workers and subordinates for a job well done,” and to “encourage them to set realistic standards of their own and help them achieve those standards.” He did the same for us.
Dad was born on Aug. 24, 1947, in Bisbee, Arizona. He is having a loving and joyous reunion around the fire with his parents and grandparents, a multitude of dogs, cats and other critters, and many of his cherished friends and fellow officers.
His legacy continues forward through his wife, Cheryl Rubcic; daughters, Traci Easton (Cortney), Stacey Morrison and Kody Condos (Sterling); his sister, Kathy Woods; his grandchildren, Alyssa Condos, Bryleigh Morrison, Sterling (“Alex”) Condos and Alli Humes; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, many friends, a few foes, and all of his ghosts.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Dad’s honor to the National 999 Police and Sheriff Foundation, a cause that Dad was passionate about. A celebration of his life will be held in Bridger Valley in the spring of 2021. Friends, foes, aliens and ghosts — and even Bigfoot — are invited to attend.