To hear people speak about him, Steve was a legend. From his teenage years until now, he was the guy everyone knew – in High School, on the soccer and football fields, on the street, to the neighborhood – everyone knew his name. He couldn’t even go on vacation without running into current and former students – NYC, Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Disney World, Myrtle Beach and more. New students assigned to his homeroom never knew whether to believe the stories that he ate a child or threw a table across the room. But the kids who had him as a teacher walked away loving his class and him. He made his classes fun but it was nearly impossible to get away with anything in his class. Known as the Tasmanian Devil in his youth, he had broken every rule and knew all the tricks. He was always in his classroom early, blaring his music for the day to set the tone. You knew it was a good day if Frank Sinatra or Abba was playing; everyone was on edge if Metallica was on. At Walter Hill School he was twice Teacher of the Year and the glue that held them together. Once a year he sang Karaoke to entertain his co-workers. His renditions of Let it Go and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough were awful but his unbridled joy, complete with dance moves, made it unforgettable. And he took his sports seriously. Steve participated in 5 fantasy football leagues, back before the internet, mailing his selections the Monday before game day. You could hear him screaming at the T.V. from two floors away when his Broncos played. If the game went badly he could string expletives like a poet. When his older son moved to Boston, he got to experience Fenway, a lifelong dream. He picked the right game: Mookie Betts smashed a walk off grand slam over the green monster. Steve wanted to be a good golfer but never quite mastered it. His biggest celebration occurred when his ball hit the green! Lovingly referred to as a Yankee Redneck by his Southern nephew, he rowdily cheered for Dale Earnhardt and Junior, and attended many NASCAR races at Dover Downs, Pocono and even Charlotte. The Kreps’ residence was the house where all the kids hung out; their dinner table usually had a few additional mouths. Even when his sons left for college their friends still came over to watch the game with Mr. Kreps. You could count the number of his kids’ games missed on one hand: he was always the loudest and most supportive parent on the sideline. He coached soccer one season for his son’s team, and ran flag football and basketball after school at Walter Hill. Come Halloween the hunt for the Kreps’ house was on: students who found him got a free homework pass; and teased if he didn’t like your costume.
At age 5 he’d meet a girl named Melissa. They played with a Noah’s Arc set under the tree in her front yard. And all through elementary school they could usually be found together. Melissa moved away for high school but the day she returned, there was Steve. Six months later they were dating; four and a half years later they were married. The secret to their almost 30 years of marriage was compromise; he compromised by usually letting Melissa get her way. They were blessed by sons, Jared and Tyler. Steve was a devoted family man. A true son, brother, and uncle, not just an in-law, to Melissa’s family: Phyllis. Ted, Tom, Robin, Patti, Tom, Kim, Brian, and all his nieces and nephews on both sides. He is survived by his parents, Melvin and Maryellen, brother Larry (Lisa) and sister Cindy (Kevin) Leach. He was pre-deceased by his brother, Kevin (Lori).
Wear your favorite team’s Jersey and come celebrate 52 great years Sunday noon to 4 p.m. at Daley Life Celebration Studio, Swedesboro. The Stephen C. Kreps Scholarship Fund is being created; more information will follow as soon as possible. Donations will be appreciated.