Stephen Rourke, 1959-2010, RIP

It is with extreme sadness that I have to the report the sudden passing of Stephen Rourke. Steve was the founding mentor of Team 1114 and executive sponsor for Teams 1114, 1503 and 1680. It was through Steve’s vision and efforts that Simbotics’ became the team that we are today and that robotics has spread throughout the Niagara Region of Ontario. When Steve was first introduced to FIRST, robotics education barely existed in the area. Through his vision and execution, every elementary school and high school in the school board now has a robotics kit.

Steve constantly pushed 1114 to greater levels, never being satisfied with being merely good, but always striving for perfection. His determination was passed onto every team member, making us stronger people in the process.

He was a mentor not only to all our students, but especially to the other mentors. He was always teaching and guiding us, working to make sure we maximized our potential. Personally, he was a role model and a father figure. He gave me countless opportunities, and I know that I would not be the person I am today if not for his influence in my life. I am eternally grateful to have known him.

Steve was the recipient of the ChiefDelphi UFH award in 2005 and was an active contributor on these forums. He will be missed not only by the Simbot Family and the teams of the Niagara Region, but by the entire FIRST community

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Rest in peace, Steve.

This is one of my favourite photos of Steve, (to the right of Tom Stephens who is wearing the suit) showing his unbridled joy after we won the 2008 Championship Event.

My condolences to Stephen’s family and friends, team 1114, and the Niagara Region FIRST teams.

My condolences go out to Stephen’s family and friends and to the Simbots and the Niagara FIRST family, he was a true role model, he will be greatly missed in FIRST

Wow, I don’t even know what to say… I got to meet Steve on a number of occasions and this is a major loss. What a great man who did great things. 1114, my heart goes out to all of you tonight.


I met Steve for the first time in Atlanta, 2007 and had already known what a difference maker he was at that time. Karthik and I were serving on the FVC GDC together and I remember Karthik being really excited to introduce Steve and I. It was field side on DaVinci and I remember it like it was yesterday. I knew right then that I had just met one of the real giant difference-makers in FIRST and his humble and friendly style is something we all could learn from.

Steve Rourke made a strong impression with me in the few minutes I had to interact with him on two total occasions in my life. It’s certainly a sad day for me, and I can’t imagine how hard this must be for all in his family and the Niagara FIRST and GM FIRST families.

Best wishes to all who knew Steve in this most difficult of times.


The day I met Mr. Rourke, I knew I met someone special. He was the biggest pushing factor behind the entire NiagaraFIRST organization, and each and every team that came out of it, from FLL to FRC. Every student that came out of this program had this opportunity because of his efforts and his mentorship.

He is the reason why I am the person I am today. Without him, I would never have heard of FIRST or it’s ideals.

I will never forget that.

I had the pleasure of presenting Mr. Rourke with a “Thank You” award last year. I remember the look in his eyes as clear as day; It was sincere, loving, passionate and caring.

He did some amazing things for me, my teammates, and everything he came into contact with.

My heart goes out to the Rourke family, and everyone else that had the pleasure to meet him. He was truly someone special.

Rest in peace Steve.


Team 1241 sends their condolences to Stephen’s family and friends and to 1114 and all the Niagara Region Teams who were affected by this tragic loss. Rest in Peace.

Steve was a good friend and mentor to me.
I was shocked by the new of his passing, and deeply saddened by this incredible loss. I value so much the talks we’ve had over the years and can’t bear to think that these are over…

I’m at a total blank for words. I owe Steve so much. We ALL owe Steve so much.

Condolences and prayers from all the Novaks - so sorry.

This is a tremendous loss, my heart goes out to all his family.

I can’t believe the feeling of emptiness in my heart. I only met Steve a couple times, but in those couple times I could see what a great person his was. What he did for FIRST community is immeasurable. I can’t put into words what an inspiration he was to all of us, and you didn’t have to have met him to feel it. Very sad.

On behalf of 2079, I send out my condolences to Mr. Rourke’s family and all of those affected by his loss.

Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rourke, I have heard of what a wonderful man he was and of his tremendous impact on Niagra FIRST and FIRST in general.


MOE 365 has Stephen, his family, and the 1114 family in our thoughts and prayers.

Please send along our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and all the great people in Niagara First. He will be sorely missed.

What heartbreaking news to hear this morning. I was a classmate and friend of Steve’s at GMI (Kettering) and remember him as hardworking as well as a lot of fun to be around!

My deep sympathies to his family and friends. There goes another good one.

I am terribly sorry to hear that 1114 and the FIRST community have lost a valuable mentor. My sincere condolences to Stephen Rourke, his family, and everyone else who has been deeply affected by this loss.

This is a great loss to the FIRST family. The Skunkworks family sends its condolences to Stephen’s team and to everyone else who feels this huge loss.

what we do in life echoes in eternity…

A terrible loss for all of FIRST. Team 11 and myself offer our greatest sympathies to you Karthik, 1114, and the rest of the NiagraFIRST family.


It was with great sadness that we heard about Steve’s passing this morning. From all of us on 2056 we wish to pass on our deepest sympathy to Steve’s family and all of Niagara FIRST. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. He will be missed.