The Man Who Cheated Death -- Twice

| August 12, 2002 Issue

The Man Who Cheated Death -- Twice, Susan Sward, SF Gate
When Bruce Stephan brushed death on San Francisco's Bay Bridge during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, he felt he understood and no longer feared death. And after he barely survived the World Trade Center attacks, "Stephan decided that he should really change his life . . . that maybe he had been allowed to live for some greater purpose," writes SF Gate's Susan Sward. "You really start to wonder if there isn't some overriding existential purpose for good," Stephan told Sward from his home is sleepy Essex, New York. Before the attacks, Stephan and his wife her workaholics. "I was always 3,500 feet above Earth, all about my job, and I never touched down on real life." They moved to Essex because they felt New York City was too vulnerable, and found a community where people cared about each other and themselves, not "acquiring goods and working yourself to death." Now, Stephan wants to relay to others what he has realized about personal and national values. After the earthquake, Stephan could comprehend death, while the September 11 attacks taught him about life.
--Abbie Jarman
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