Steven Epstein, 71 of Watchung, passed peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Saturday, June 13, 2020. In lieu of a funeral, the family will be waiting until it’s safe for people to gather for a party in celebration of Steven’s life. Online condolences can be made in Steven’s honor to Project Pinball at http://projectpinball.org.
Steven was born on November 21, 1948 in West New York to David and Harriet (Bressler) Epstein. Friends and family knew him by many names; Steve, Daddy, Husband, Zelmo, and Grandpa but everyone knew when he was around there would be food, fun, laughter, and love.
He spent his early years in West New York and learned the ropes of the family amusement business. Steven graduated from Memorial High School in 1966 and went on to get a bachelor's degree at the University of Bridgeport in CT where he was a volunteer big brother and met the love of his life, Sondra (Walker) Epstein.
Steven went on to take over the family business and grow it into a thriving mecca for competitive pinball. He fed NYC with the “Hottest Nuts in Town” and inspired a new generation to play and revel in the art of the silver ball. Steven co-founded PAPA (Professional and Amatur Pinball Association) with his lifelong friend, Roger Sharpe and was instrumental in helping re-establish the IFPA (International Flipper Pinball Association which currently ranks nearly 80,000 players from around the world.)
He enjoyed many adventures in life from hosting world wide pinball tournaments and raising money for charity, to fishing trips with family, and annual golf getaways with friends.
Steven loved organized sports. He lettered on his varsity bowling team in highschool, organized and ran the Watchung girls softball league for years, and never missed traveling to his grandchildrens’ athletic events. Steven was always focused on caring for people, whether a close friend in need, or families that he supported for over 20 years facilitating the eating disorder support group. His family knew him as a kind, patient, and loving man, who always had time to listen, and the right thing to say.
Steven's greatest joy in life was his two balls - one silver and one dimpled white. He spent endless hours enjoying pinball and golf - both enthusiastically described in countless stories when he’s had “the game of his life.”
Steven is survived by his loving wife Sondra, his brother Mark Epstein of New York City, daughters Erica (Rob) Santana of Southwest Ranches, FL, Dale (Brian) Sperling of Ringoes, NJ, and 7 grandchildren, Sofia, Silvia, Jacob, Samantha, Zachary, Joshua, and Aaron.