Steven Alan Tarnoff rescued James R. Eagle from burning, Spokane, Washington, January 20, 1981. Eagle, 37, and Tarnoff, 30, division manager, were severely injured when the airplane in which they were passengers crashed in a wooded area and, nearly demolished, caught fire. All others aboard the aircraft were killed. Tarnoff crawled out of the wreckage and then saw that Eagle was still alive but could not get out. Unable to walk, Tarnoff crawled back to the aircraft and reached Eagle near the increasing flames. With difficulty due to his injuries and to being greatly outweighed, Tarnoff dragged Eagle to a safe distance from the wreckage shortly before it was entirely engulfed by the flames.57715-6561
The world lost a truly amazing individual on October 12, 2023. Steven Alan Tarnoff had been fighting leukemia for over a year before suddenly passing from complications. In Steve’s early life, he was surrounded by his loving Mom and Dad, Joe and Ida Tarnoff, and amazing aunts, uncles and grandparents.
He loved to tell the story about being accepted into Villanova University; it resulted in him losing a bet to his dad about where he would be attending college.
He graduated with three degrees; Education Science, History, and Military Science. At commencement, he was awarded the Distinguished Naval Graduate Award; 1 of only 20 awarded that year throughout the entire United States. After a brief opportunity to follow his true passion as a history teacher for Junior High and High School, he was called up to serve his country, fighting in Vietnam. Steve spent three tours as a Naval Weapons Officer aboard the John Paul Jones, as well as inland at Quang Tri, Vietnam. His final year in the Navy was spent in JAG training. Upon being honorably discharged, Steve was hired by Hoechst Pharmaceutical where he remained for 21 years, working in a variety of positions but most notably as Governmental Affairs Manager. After retiring from Hoescht, Steve and his three best friends used their combined expertise to found The Franklin Group, where they spent 11 more years doing regulatory law consulting for a multitude of other pharmaceutical companies. In his combined years in the pharmaceutical industry, Steve was responsible for bringing many life-saving medications to market by gaining FDA approval. Steve had many challenges in his life that even just one of would have crushed a lesser man. He survived a commercial airline crash in 1981; he was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism for saving the life of the only other survivor of that crash. He also lost his beloved son, Harrison, in 2001, but would be the first to tell you what an absolute blessing and a joy Harrison had been in his life.
Steve was blessed to have met his soulmate and love of his life in the summer of 2019. Robin and Steve were inseparable from the very beginning, and married in February 2022. They spent time together rehabbing his home in NJ, and Robin taught him the joy of fostering animals (although he completely admitted he was terrible at it; he wanted to keep EVERY single one they took in!). In early 2023, they left NJ and moved to Steve’s dream house and property in Eastern Tennessee. He had a few wonderful months being able to enjoy lake life and spending as much time as possible in the Great Smoky Mountains, specifically Cades Cove.
Steve truly spent his entire life helping and serving others, and making a difference in the lives of those he touched. Steve is survived by his adoring wife, Robin, his three Stepsons, Zach, Connor and Jonas, his crazy dogs and cats, and more friends that he loved like family than can be listed.