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Mercury News: Oakland educator eulogized as man who lived a life for ‘the salvation of humanity’

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Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light has a seating capacity of about 1,400. It was packed Wednesday afternoon, mourners standing along the walls and milling in the plaza outside, all of them having come to pay their respects to Stephen Phelps, president of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School, who died at 73 the day after Christmas following complications from heart bypass surgery.

Speakers at his funeral Mass extolled him as a man who led an exemplary life and endeavored to help others do likewise.

Phelps’ daughter, Amy, recalled when her dad began driving school buses to pay for her ice skating lessons, of playing “wedding” and having him sit patiently as she put “1 million” barrettes in his hair, and of his pushing her through basketball drills.

“Having Steve Phelps as your dad was a master class in determination and laser beam focus,” she said. “I could talk all day about how great my dad was. But you all know that. That’s why you’re here.”


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