Cover photo for Stephen Dzioba's Obituary
Stephen Dzioba Profile Photo
1951 Stephen 2024

Stephen Dzioba

June 28, 1951 — June 5, 2024

The Life and Times of Dr. Stephen Dzioba: Scientist, Tinkerer, and Dad Joke Connoisseur

Born in Hamilton, ON, in 1951 to the newly immigrated Anne Vertatschitsch of Yugoslavia and Paul Dzioba of Ukraine, young Steve showed an insatiable curiosity from an early age. While his parents worked hard to master English and build a new life for Steve and his three siblings, Bob, Donna and Mark, he was busy conquering the worlds of academics, music, and art.

After his Bachelor of Science, Steve had a tough choice to make - dentistry, medicine, or physics. Realising that the medical world didn't capture his imagination, he pursued his PhD in Materials Science at McMaster University. Little did the world know, this was the start of an exemplary career in telecommunications research.

Steve brought his energy to every facet of technology development, from materials science research to leading engineering teams, to managing product business and sales. Since 1981, his pioneering research advanced fibre-optic communications for Bell-Northern Research, Nortel Networks, and NeoPhotonics. He had a knack for mentoring and bringing people together to solve problems, no doubt inspired by his lifelong admiration of physicist Richard Feynman's wisdom: "Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough."

Since retirement in 2020, his tenacity for perfection continued - he was an accomplished oil painter, woodworker, and deck builder. While he has left a large collection of art work behind, his family will always remember him more for his endless dad jokes, bedtime stories about The Meeps (magical critters that lived in Steve’s belly button), early morning announcements of planet sightings, the knowledge he imparted on a range of subjects from how to cook a turkey, how to fix a boat engine, and why the sky is blue. One memorable occasion involved filling the house with balloon animals, a skill he had perfected to surprise his children. Most important was his unequivocal support for all family members.

Despite his many talents, Steve remained humble and thoughtful, offering advice, laughter, and guidance to all who knew him. At the start of the pandemic, he survived a serious heart attack, only to succumb to COVID-19 after a tenacious battle, true to his character, at Brockville General Hospital on June 5, 2024.

Steve will forever be missed by his wife Susan DeNure, his children Paul and Erin Dzioba, and his siblings Bob, Mark (Irene), Donna (Andre) and nieces and nephew, Laura, Ryan and Kathryn.

Steve's remarkable life will be celebrated at a later date. A private burial has occurred. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Catholic Centre for Immigrants Ottawa (CCI Ottawa) in honour of his parents' immigrant journey

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