Sean Patrick Upton, Navy veteran, police officer, teacher, and football coach, died from a stroke on Thursday, January 14th, 2022, at the age of 73, in Syracuse, New York. A long-time Santa Cruz, CA resident and police officer there for 31 years, Sean P. Upton’s death was confirmed by Susan Upton, his wife of 55 years, with whom he spent his life in love and devotion. He was born on August 3, 1948 in Salinas, California, married high school sweetheart Susan in 1965, and then served in the United States Navy from 1965-1969, with a tour of duty as a medical tech on the USS Ranger in Vietnam. Upon his honorable discharge, Sean joined the Santa Cruz Police Department from Feb. 2, 1970 and worked proudly there as a cop in a variety of roles until his retirement on August 3, 2001 (beat officer, juvenile and homicide detective, and founded a neighborhood watch program in the 1970s). During the course of his life in Santa Cruz, he also found great pleasure in tending to family life, and he will always be remembered fondly for his great sense of humor, storytelling ability, and hearty laugh. He had a taste for scotch, enjoyed classic rock from the 1960s and 1970s, wore Hawaiian shirts, and found entertainment both in books such as The Hobbit and seeing films that ranged from flicks by John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Sylvester Stallone, to science-fiction blockbusters such as Star Wars and Star Trek. His sons will always remain grateful for introducing them in 1976 to the comic book store, Atlantis Fantasyworld, in Santa Cruz! Sean took particular delight in traveling with his wife and sons to places such as Hawaii and Disneyland, and making it abroad with the family to Great Britain and Italy were among the highlights of his life. During the 1980s and 1990s, he also taught law enforcement classes at Cabrillo College, and, during that period, he took special satisfaction in coaching football at Marello Prep and Palma high schools. While at both institutions, he showed admirable talent and ability in cultivating an esprit de corps among the players and forging championship teams, and each of his sons took great pride and joy in being able to play for him during their time in school. In his retirement, Sean deeply enjoyed traveling with Susan to places along the Eastern Seaboard, especially touring Civil War sites such as Gettysburg. The time not spent exploring was kept within the comforts of their beloved cottage at the base of historic Thompson Park in Watertown, NY. His perfectly manicured yard was a great source of pride, and the people of Watertown held a particular place in his heart for embracing him and Susan with so much love the last 21 years. Sean is survived by his wife, Susan, whom he loved fiercely for 57 years since they met at ages 16 and 17 at a dance in Santa Cruz Boardwalk’s Coconut Grove. He is also survived by his two sons and their families, Todd and Jocy (and children, Allegra and Julian), and Brian and Stacey (and children, Tayler, Bailey, and Aynsley). He will be missed dearly.
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