After nearly a lifetime of spiritual and vocational searching, Philip Charles Zepp found his home in Guerneville, where he volunteered for numerous organizations and was a past-president of the local Rotary Club.

Zepp, who never smoked, died July 15 of lung cancer at his home above the Russian River. He was 68.

Zepp was born on July 30, 1941 in Alma, Wis., a town of about 1,000 on the Mississippi River. His father managed a dairy cooperative while his mother tended the home.

The oldest of three, Zepp became an Eagle Boy Scout and was president of his senior class at St. Felix High School in Wabasha, Minn.

He attended a year at Georgetown University before dropping out of school and joining the Society of Jesus as a Jesuit Brother.

Alan Zepp of Sacramento said his older brother was always drawn to the Catholic Church.

"Phil was a very caring person who was always out to help others," he said.

After earning a degree in nursing from St. Mary's University in Minnesota, Zepp headed west on a road trip, stopping in Phoenix to visit some friends. He ended up living there for awhile and getting married. The couple later divorced.

Zepp moved to San Jose where his sister lived, and then to Guerneville, where he discovered his dream home on Old Monte Rio Road.

Zepp worked the night shift at Sonoma County's psychiatric hospital before a heart attack in the late &‘90s forced him to retire.

Zepp volunteered for the Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank and was a member of the Russian River Rotary Club in Guerneville. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow in addition to serving as the club's president.

Alan Zepp said his brother loved to tell a good Norwegian joke and to ride trains. He rode the rails across the western United States, in Canada and in Europe.

Zepp also loved his monthly meetings with his book club and working out with friends at the YMCA.

In addition to his brother, Zepp is survived by his adopted son, Martin, and a nephew, Miguel Salcido.

A funeral mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Aug. 14 at St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church in Guerneville. A luncheon will follow at St. Hubert's Hall adjacent to the church.

— Derek Moore