Richard Steinbrecher, 96, passed away peacefully on April 5th, 2022 in Apex, NC.
Born on November 9, 1925, in Kansas CIty, MO, Richard was cared for by his grandparents in Quincy, IL, after a kitchen fire left his mother severely burned. Charmed by their cherubic grandson, they refused to return him to his recovered mother and siblings and raised him amongst his many aunts as their own. At the tender age of 17, Richard enlisted in the US Navy to answer his country’s call during World War II. He would go on to serve as a Corpsman during multiple South Pacific campaigns including Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Philippines. During this time, he mastered his triage techniques which would later come in handy with his active and accident-prone daughter.
Richard went on to serve 20 years in the US Navy as a Corpsman. He attended Optometry school and rose to Petty Officer First Class prior to retirement. He was proud of his service and had many raucous stories about his time as “Doc” to Navy and Marine service men. It may be a testament to his skills that he never once had to fight a fight that his mouth had started.
After retirement from the service, Richard went on to work as a retail store manager in Waukegan, IL, where he met his future wife, Lee Ann. They later married in Joplin, MO, before moving to Tulsa, OK, in 1969 to open another chain retail store. In the early 1970s, he shifted into entrepreneurship when he opened his own sporting goods store, Tulsa Sports Center. During this time, it was rare to go to a restaurant or any other event where someone wouldn’t recognize him. He had a hand in the soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, and football uniforms and equipment of two generations of kids before selling the store in the mid 1990s. He was well-known for being very opinionated and blunt, but was trusted as an honest purveyor of goods.
During his time in Tulsa, his only child, Trisha, was born. To ensure that his child was female, he insisted that her mother give birth at the ‘pink’ hospital - St. Francis - but only after waiting in the parking lot until after midnight so he could avoid the previous day’s fees. While he adored his daughter and would often brag to his customers about her intelligence or skill, he kept her well-grounded and consistently striving to be better. His medical skills came in handy as he stitched a split open skull and butterflied a chin, assessed concussions, and set a broken nose several times. He set his limits at broken limbs, severed tendons, and ruptured appendixes but wasn’t above critiquing a doctor’s technique and demanding they do their best work on his daughter. His scrutiny was relentless and carried over into the care received by his wife during her successful breast cancer battle.
Richard could be hot-tempered, steely, and crass - he definitely epitomized the salty sailor - and had a particular affinity for bizarre curse words and sayings. However, he loved his family and friends deeply and was loyal and protective until the end. His sensitive nature particularly showed in his love and care of his pets. He enjoyed fishing and gardening and took particular pride in growing large tomatoes.
He was predeceased by his wife, Lee Ann; sister, Bonnie; brother, Bill; parents and grandparents. He is survived by his daughter, Trisha, and son-in-law, Randy, of Cary, NC, dear friends and neighbors, Rebecca and Tracy McCall, of Tulsa, OK, and various nieces and nephews. Undoubtedly, he is also remembered by many as the sporting goods store owner with the icy blue eyes and flat top who was apt to “tell you how it is” without mincing words. We love you and will miss you, Dad, but you’ve earned your rest.
“Where the blue of the night
Meets the gold of the day
Someone waits for me” - Bing Crosby
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