An award-winning chili cook, amateur actor and one-time lion owner, Santa Rosa resident David Sepulveda, 72, died Saturday of colon cancer at his sister’s Santa Rosa home.
Sepulveda was born in San Francisco. The oldest of three children, he and his family moved to Santa Rosa in 1951 when he was 10, said his sister Carol Del Monte of Santa Rosa.
They moved north because their mother, a registered nurse, was opening Rone Rehabilitation Hospital, which later became North Coast Health Care Centers.
As a child and teen he attended boarding school at the San Rafael Military Academy, where he graduated with a rank of captain.
Sepulveda also was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
As an adult he worked with his mother at the rehabilitation hospital, Del Monte said.
In his 20s, he owned a lion that he kept in a cage in his backyard, his sister said.
Sepulveda enjoyed community theater and participated in the Hi Fever Follies, an every-two year, raucous, amateur show where participants sing and dance as a benefit for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
He also participated in Theater in the Round at the Flamingo Hotel. An acting highlight was playing Nathan Detroit in the musical “Guys and Dolls,” Del Monte said.
Sepulveda also served as past president of the Santa Rosa Active 20-30 Club.
Known for his tasty cooking and beautiful home-grown heirloom tomatoes, Sepulveda enjoyed entering some of his recipes into local fair competitions and once received a blue ribbon for his chili and beef jerky, Del Monte said.
What made it so good isn’t known, said his sister. “He died with that. He didn’t leave us the secret.”
She described her big brother as a man with a good sense of humor and a large heart. He loved to joke but also made time for charities — including cooking his prized turkey gravy for Thanksgiving meals for the homeless.
Along with his sister, he is survived by sons David Anthony Sepulveda Jr. of West Hollywood and David Joseph Sepulveda of Australia; daughter Celia Ann Sepulveda of La Jolla; sister Antoinette Sepulveda of Santa Rosa and two grandchildren.
A service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Daniels Chapel of the Roses in Santa Rosa.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sutter Care at Home Hospice, 1110 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa 95401.
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