Stephen G. Nothern, a retired Redondo Beach firefighter, died Friday following a long battle with cancer. He was 71.
The Torrance resident passed peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family.
The son of Kansas wheat farmers Rollin and Carol and grandson of pioneers, Nothern was a lifelong South Bay resident. He grew up in Lomita and graduated from Narbonne High School, where he was an accomplished gymnast. Inheriting a love of automobiles and auto repair, he purchased and operated a Shell service station in his hometown until joining the in 1969.
He was selected for paramedic training, and eventually was promoted to engineer, captain, fire marshal and finally battalion chief, until he retired in 1994.
A teacher by nature, Nothern became an instructor in the Fire Science program at El Camino College and continued to inspire young men and women until ending his tenure in 2007 as Head of Fire and Emergency Technology.
A driving desire to learn and grow led him back to school, where he attended Cal State University Dominguez Hills and received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Nothern was a jack-of-all-trades who could build or fix anything. He was a hardworking man with many interests; a scholar whose greatest passion was to teach.
Nothern was a gentleman to the core who was modest and generous to all and would drop everything to help someone in need. Anyone lucky enough to be counted as a friend, family member, student, or acquaintance could not help but be inspired by his optimism, enthusiasm and energy. Nothern was fiercely loved and will be deeply missed.
Funeral services for Steve Nothern are scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Rice Mortuary, located at 5310 Torrance Blvd. in Torrance.