He even managed to stay positive during his battle with brain cancer over the past 18 months, a condition which took his life Sept. 9.
“Steve always presented the most wonderful, positive energy,” said Sudbury Theatre Centre education co-ordinator Judy Straughan, who knew McCulloch through his participation in the theatre centre's board.
“He was just one of those people that all of us needs to be around more. Don't you wish you had more Steves in your life?”
Recalling seeing McCulloch at an opening night at the theatre last spring, Straughan said even though he was weakened, he still had an “absolute beaming smile,” and was laughing and joking around.
McCulloch, 48, is survived by his wife, Marett, and their kids Montana and Garett, who are in their early teens.
According to his obituary, McCulloch was always active, and enjoyed water skiing, downhill skiing, golfing, working out, biking and tinkering in the yard.
“He will be remembered for his determination, commitment and zest for life,” the obituary said.
He was also quite active in the community, serving on the boards of the Sudbury Theatre Centre, Cambrian College, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Adanac Ski Club.
In his obituary, the family thanks the staff at the Northeast Cancer Centre and Maison Vale Hospice — where McCulloch spent his final days — “for their great care and compassion.”
Above all, McCulloch was a devoted family man, said his friend, Todd Wilkinson. “He was always there for his wife and kids,” he said.
Wilkinson said he'll always treasure the time he spent with McCulloch and their families at a cottage on Aird Island on the North Channel.
“My uncle has a property up there he shares with us, and I would share it with Steve and other friends,” he said. “Six families would go up all at once, and it was quite memorable.”
McCulloch also took pride in his career as the president of Cambrian Ford, his obituary said. He was a chartered accountant who had a way with numbers, said Wilkinson.
He served numerous years on Ford of Canada’s National Round Table including serving as national dealer co-chair in 2008 alongside the president of Ford of Canada.
As a Ford dealership owner, McCulloch was also a car lover. Earlier this summer, he donated his 1965 Mustang convertible — worth $38,000 — so it could be raffled off to benefit the Northern Cancer Foundation.
He made the donation after his illness meant he was no longer able to drive the car.
The money will go towards the newly created Stephen McCulloch Bursary Fund, which will support graduate or doctoral students doing cancer research at the Northeast Cancer Centre.
Kathy Heimbecker, Sudbury Theatre Centre's general manager, said McCulloch, as the chair of the theatre's 2005 capital campaign, was instrumental in the success of the endeavour, which raised $680,000 for vital repairs.
He also served on the theatre's board as treasurer and then president between 1998 and 2005.
The fact that it only took McCulloch eight months to reach the campaign goal is a testament to his skills, she said.
“He was a force,” Heimbecker said.
Northern Life publisher Abbas Homayed served on Cambrian College's board of governors with McCulloch and considered him a friend.
“He was very community minded and was always positive,” he said.
“I remember how proud he was being involved on a national level with the president of Ford. Stephen had an inquiring mind and always asked good questions. He will be missed.”
When the Adanac Ski Hill re-opened a decade ago after being closed for a number of years, McCulloch was one of those who revived the Adanac Ski Club.
Chris Ransom said he approached McCulloch, a long-time friend, to see if he'd be interested in helping out and was thrilled when McCulloch agreed.
“With Steve, whenever he gave you his word he'd do something, you knew he was 110 per cent,” he said.
McCulloch served as treasurer and then alpine chair before bowing out due to his illness.
The Alpine Ski Club has grown from about 20 members to more than 100, with McCulloch's children among the participants.
An award given to an athlete who demonstrates exemplary behaviour, commitment and dedication to ski racing was named in McCulloch's honour, and he handed it out himself at the club's spring banquet this year.
Ransom said his friend was incredibly competitive and very fit. He took this spirit to his cancer fight as well.
“I would have probably given up, but he never stopped,” he said.
“He'd do anything that the doctors told him to do. His wife would wake up in the middle of the night. He'd be on the treadmill, and he'd be running with weights in his hands.
“He'd do everything trying to fight this. He was an incredibly, incredibly strong man.”
A celebration of McCulloch's life will take place at the Science North Cavern on Sept. 13 from 5-7 p.m.
Donations can be made to the Northern Cancer Foundation or Maison Vale Hospice, and can be made online at lougheeds.org or by phoning the Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home at 705-673-3611.