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September 16, 2020

Boris Stepnow, born May 29, 1930, in Tartu, Estonia, died Sept. 16, 2020, at Tiverton Park Manor, at the age of 90. Survived by his wife of 62 years, Sylvia; and his children, Susan, Carolyn and Leanne. He was Papa of eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Boris always said the best decision he ever made was moving to Canada after the tumult of living through, and fighting in, the Second World War in Europe. He arrived in October, 1952 with less than $12 in his pocket, and went straight to a lumber camp on St. Ignace Island, in Nipigon Bay, Lake Superior. In fact, the Great Lakes would become a fixture in the rest of his life – he lived on the shores of Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie, and for the past 50 years, beside his beloved Lake Huron. Boris’ time in the Merchant Marine and later his work with heavy steel construction, took him around the world, but it was home in Bruce County where he was happiest, moving his family to Inverhuron in the 1970s, when he was hired on to help build the early stage of Bruce A at the Bruce Nuclear Power Development (now Bruce Power). Though he could be stubborn and irascible, he took great pleasure in his generosity, especially when he had the chance to feed a house full of family and friends (he was a great cook and famous for his gravy). Meals became marathons of eating, with Boris hovering, urging everyone to “essen, essen” as he dished out seconds, then thirds and fourths. As the family grew, he delighted in the proliferation of grandchildren, telling them stories (so many stories!), putting on voices, teaching phrases from any one of the five languages he spoke, and taking in the spectacle of kids gambolling and performing for hours on end. What Boris leaves behind are three generations of wonderful people. In his final days, they all reached out and gathered round to make sure he knew he was loved and cherished. At 90 years of age, Boris felt he’d lived long enough and well enough, and on his own terms. He had a “warrior spirit.” He died surrounded by his family, after sharing kindnesses with each beloved soul. With his death, Bruce County is quieter, but with each Lake Huron sunset, Boris will be remembered as a man who built a life in Canada for the family he loved above everything else. Cremation has taken place. A private celebration to honour Boris’ life will be held at a later date. The family gives heartfelt thanks to Huron Shores Hospice, Dr. Angela Cavanagh and Dr. Damian Gunaratne, as well as Lori Fredericks and team, Malcolm Place staff and residents; special angel, Nurse Mary Lawson; and good friends, Ken Elston and (in memory of) Gord Lawson.