James O’Shea Steinrok Photo

James O’Shea Steinrok died suddenly after a fun filled St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, 2020, while cooking dinner at home.

Jim was born in Mt. Vernon, New York to Emily Mooney and Henry Steinrok and moved to San Francisco where he started St. Ignatius High School as a freshman. After high school, he attended West Point as a cadet. After leaving West Point he joined the 101st Airborne for three years where he, among other things, pursued his strange desire to jump out of airplanes. After his time in the Airborne. Jim married his first love, Joanne English (deceased). Joanne encouraged Jim to apply to the San Mateo Police Department, where he found a career that he loved as a Police Officer and Sergeant served his community for 34 years. He received the Department’s Medal of Valor and during his time with SMPD, also earned a degree from UC Berkeley in history which was another of his many strong interests.

Jim was a family man who loved his family deeply. He could be strict, stern, and taciturn, but also had a quirky sense of fun, play and adventure that was expressed in the many camping trips with his family on the Rogue River up in Oregon. These adventures also led to long-lasting friendships with fellow rafters over campfires and card games. He also made sure he taught his kids to love and respect nature, as well as teaching them an appreciation of poetry, literature, art and music. Jim was what you might call a Renaissance Man and wanted to pass on his many interests to this kids.

Jim’s sensitive side could be seen in his reaction to certain plays, operas, symphonies, books and movies. When listening to Nessun Dorma, sung by Pavarotti, I Dreamed Dream from Les Miserables or Un Bel Di from Madame Butterfly, he could turn into a puddle.

Friends knew they could count on Jim for his loyalty and straight answers when they asked for advice. He also had a gentle way of leading you to find your own solutions.

Jim was lucky to have two loves of his life. At age 60, he met and married Donna Nissen. Together they travelled the world, having adventures and creating treasured memories. They also enjoyed spending time in their community of San Mateo frequenting libraries, parks, varied eateries and bird watching on the many Bay Trails.

In addition to Donna, Jim is survived by his children, Michael, Daniel, Elizabeth, Christa and Stepdaughter Valerie Clifford.

He adored and was very proud of his grandchildren, James, Amber, Nicholas, Max, Madelyn, Charlotte and Step grandson, Shawn Clifford. He is also survived by his five great grandchildren, Aedan, Annabeth, Greyson, Mary and Harper.

Jim left this world quickly, which is exactly how he wanted it, but his memory and the gifts he left will be remembered for many years to come. Goodbye Dear Jim, Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa and friend!

For those wishing to contribute in Jim’s name, his favorite charities were Doctors Without Borders, The American Parkinson Disease Association and San Mateo Second Harvest Food Bank.

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