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Mark Steinbeck, lifelong Hidden Meadows resident, dies



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Mark Steinbeck died on Friday, Sept. 6 at the age of 52. Contributed photo
September 17, 2013
Mark Steinbeck, who lived most of his life in Hidden Meadows from the age of 8, died Friday, Sept. 6. He died from complications of pneumonia after falling into a coma, passing at about 9:10 p.m. at Palomar Medical Center. He was 52.

Mr. Steinbeck was born April 12, 1961, in La Mirada to Al and Jean Steinbeck. His father was one of the developers of the Hidden Meadows community in the 1960s and his son, Mark, explored the hills and valleys and became intimately acquainted with its topography during a time when there were very few houses. Later in life he would occasionally be asked to give talks to Meadows residents about the early days of Hidden Meadows.

He attended Escondido High School, graduating in 1979. He played water polo for the school and was a very athletic swimmer. He attended Palomar Collage where he also swam competitively and transferred to Cal State Northridge where he obtained a degree in speech communications.

He was interested in photography from a young age and one of the first things he purchased with his allowance at the age of 8 was a Nikon F-2. He parlayed this interest into photojournalism, with a particular passion for covering sailing events such as the America's Cup. He achieved some notoriety in March 1997 when he became the first journalist to put up photos, on the World Wide Web (which is what people of the time referred to as the Internet) of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe.

Mr. Steinbeck was a tall, Viking of a man, with a flowing blond beard, who lived up to his appearance with a lifelong passion for sailing, which he pursued over the years with various yachts. He was a particular fan of the America's Cup races. He loved trips to Mexico, spending months on the Sea of Cortez on his beloved yacht Nirvana. He was an avid bird watcher but most of all enjoyed spending time with his family.

Mr. Steinbeck was also a legendary host, whose holiday dinners and especially his New Year's celebration were events not to be missed. He loved to cook — one of his favorite dishes being a Cioppino of monumental proportions — which was in keeping with his love of the sea.

He and his beloved wife, Dorothy, would have celebrated their 23rd anniversary on Sept. 15, 2013.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; daughters Elizabeth and Amber; son, Gregg; and brother, Neal; and grandson, Phoenix.

All celebration of life will be held Oct. 5, noon-4 p.m. with the service starting at 1 p.m. at Oceanside Yacht Club, 1950 Harbor Dr. North, Oceanside. His ashes will be scattered into the ocean off the deck of Nirvana at a later date. Donations are being accepted for the Mark Steinbeck Memorial Fund to benefit his family at youcaring.com.

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