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By Mira Wassef siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. ? Steven Turetsky, the Rosebank man fatally struck by a car Monday night near his home, was a proud father and a gifted builder who shared his passion for life and work with his two sons.

"He was an incredible dad," said his son, Jacob Turetsky, 23. "He devoted himself to us so entirely and faithfully. We were the center of his life."

On Monday night, around 7:30 p.m., a 2008 Honda hit Turetsky, 61, at the intersection of Bay Street and Hylan Boulevard, police said.

According to the NYPD Highway District's Collision Investigation Squad, a 2008 Honda Fit was traveling southbound on Bay Street in the left lane approaching the intersection of Hylan Boulevard at the same time the pedestrian was crossing Bay Street, from west to east, outside of the marked crosswalk.

As the vehicle approached the intersection, the pedestrian walked out into the path of the vehicle and was struck by the front bumper, police said.

He suffered severe head trauma and was transported to Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze, where he was pronounced dead.

"He was full of life and energy," said Rabbi Gerald Sussman of Temple Emanu-El in Port Richmond, who knew Turetsky for more than 25 years. "He was a person of strength and character, and was full of love."

Turetsky was born in Brooklyn and lived in many cities across the United States when he was growing up. But, he eventually settled on Staten Island and went to Susan Wagner High School.

Soon after he graduated, he became a successful jack-of-all-trades. In his 20s, he ran a high-profile security firm in Brooklyn that gained attention for arresting child molesters and thieves.

Then he found his love for building and construction. Turetsky, who could make anything with his hands, and his brother were part of many successful projects at the Staten Island Mall.

He did a lot of renovation and even built the display that houses the Holocaust memorial scrolls at Temple Emanu-El.

In the past decade, he became a highly respected building inspector.

"He was bringing us around buildings since we were babies," Jacob said. "He taught us to build and how to use every material. He very much influenced what me and my brother do today."

"When were in high school (Susan Wagner), we were active in the theater department and my dad would help us build multiple sets at the school," said his son, Aaron, 21. "He was very active in our lives."

Turetsky and his wife, Nina Geiger-Cole, were married two years ago. The happy couple exchanged vows at the Wailing Wall in Israel, and visited Paris and London.

His trip to Israel was especially moving because he lived there with his mother as small child, and felt a sense of home during his visit.

"It was very special to him," Jacob said. "He said when he got off the plane, it felt like home to him. He brought back sand and rocks and with him."

Turestsky was also very active in the Jewish community on Staten Island.

During his time at Temple Emanu-El, he was president of the men's club and organized various programs and activities, many of which live on today.

One of the more popular programs was called the "The Night Before," where Jewish families would gather at the temple on Christmas Eve and watch movies together.

"He did so many great things," Sussman said. "Jewish people were dear to him. He was a wonderful person. We're so saddened by it. We're heartbroken."

Besides building, he enjoyed boating, fishing, dancing, martial arts and horses. He kept a boat at Mariners Harbor and lived to be on the water. He was a six-degree black belt and took odd jobs taking care of horses when he was a kid.

"We are all reeling from his death," said Sussman's wife, Rebbitzen Bonita Sussman. "We were really close, he was a good friend. It's such a tragedy."

Turestky is survived by his brothers, Roy Kaplan, Melvin Kaplan and Sheldon Turestky; sister, Wittei-Joy Gerage; stepson, Glen Cole; and stepdaughter, Carmela Chicola.

The funeral will be Friday at Meislohn-Silvie Funeral Home at 10:30 a.m. He will be buried at United Hebrew Cemetery.

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That's beyond sad.

I only met him once, about 10 years ago, but it left a lasting impression. He heard I was looking for hardwood flooring for a non-flooring project and offered me some Brazilian cherry he had leftover from a job. I drove to Staten Island to pick it up. I was expecting cut-offs and rejects, but it was almost all brand new, still strapped in bundles - close to 200 square feet of it. When I saw that, I wanted to pay him for it, but he wouldn't take a dime. He simply said to me "we're all brothers".

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