Stephen J. Springer

Date of Passing:

March 26, 2021

Springer, Stephen J., 76, of Lee Ann Drive, Barrington, died peacefully on March 26, 2021 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA after a courageous 8 month battle with stomach cancer. He was the beloved husband of Virginia M. McGinn.

Born in Providence, a son of the late Harold and Lily (Gaskell) Springer, he lived in Barrington for 10 years previously residing in Chepachet.

Mr. Springer was a Police Officer for the Providence Police Department for 35 years before retiring as a Detective. He then joined the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General as an Inspector from 2004-2017. He received numerous awards during his career, including the Medal of Valor (1984), The Rhode Island Justice Assistance “Neil Houston Award” (2001) and Rhode Island Criminal Justice Hall of Fame (2018).

He was a member of the Fraternal Order Police and Hopkinton Country Club. A renaissance man, he could restore antique cars and bicycles, craft beautiful woodwork and recount fascinating stories from decades earlier with a remarkable recall for details. He was a voracious reader of World War II history, a surprisingly gifted poet and loving “dad” to Springerdoodle Darcy.

Besides his wife, he is survived by two sisters, Nancy Ellen Russen (Herbert) of Cranston and Phyllis Ventura (David) of Tiverton and many nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Harold “Buddy” Springer.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend Calling Hours on Thursday morning April 1, 2021 in the W. RAYMOND WATSON FUNERAL HOME, 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Burial will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Flowers are respectfully omitted. Contributions in Stephen’s memory to Rhode Island Justice Assistance, 943 Park Avenue, Cranston, RI 02910 would be deeply appreciated. For online condolences please visit

Online Condolences


  1. Dear Virginia.
    Please except our deepest sympathy for the loss of your dear husband, Stephen.
    May He rest in Peace.

    With our love.

    Dr. and Mrs. William Van Haaren.

  2. A Cop of cops, best of the best. God’s Speed Stephen. My sympathies to your family…

  3. My deepest condolences to the Springer Family,

    May the good Lord lighten the burden of sorrow and console you during this difficult time. May all the good memories overflow your hearts with smiles.

    May you rest in peace my friend.

  4. My father owned Elwood’s Diner on Eddy Street in Providence. Steve would often eat breakfast or get a paper their .He was a good cop and a good friend to my father. My father respected and thought the world of Steve. May he rest in peace . My deepest sympathies!!

  5. No one has mentioned Detective Springer’s Medal of Valor in 1984 when a uniformed Providence Police Officer went to an address for a domestic dispute. The black male subject there took a uniformed Providence Police Officer hostage. Taking the officer’s gun and holding it to his head when holding the officer around the neck and choking him. The subject then forced the officer at gunpoint into his ( the subject’s) vehicle. The scene was surrounded and no one was approaching the subject in the vehicle. After a while Detective Springer charged the vehicle and entered on the passenger side of the vehicle. Steve shot the subject several times with just his detective’s special. A snub nose .38 cal. No big 9 mm or .41 cal. Glocks in those days. I was a police officer in a neighboring town (Pawtucket) at the time. Steve was in my opinion a hero that day. Today he would probably be called a racist.

    PS I also remember Steve years ago working details at Murray’s Discount on North Main Street.

  6. Steve and I go way back a long time ago when he took me under his wing when I started to work in the body shop at Elliot Buick. From there he went on to greatness as a cop. RIP Steve.

  7. I send my condolence to the Springer family. I remember Steve when I worked at A G’s Office, A great Officer. Rest In Peace .

  8. Ginny- Words are just never enough. He sure is going to be missed! Always kind and quick with the jokes. Wish we could be there for you and the family. May God Bless you! Rest in peace Steve….Love your cousin Carol & Bob

  9. My condolences to the Springer family during this difficult time.
    I echo many of the sentiments that are posted here. Steve was a mentor, colleague, and friend. I am glad I was able to tell him how grateful I was to have had the opportunity to work with him, and learn from him. He is truly unique in law enforcement circles. May he rest in peace.

  10. I was so saddened to hear of Steve’s passing.
    All the superlatives apply– tough cop, great person, incredible legacy. I was very proud to know him; he is a role model for all of law enforcement and has the universal respect of his peers and everyone in the criminal justice system.
    My sincere sympathies to you Ginny, and to your family.

  11. My condolences to the Springer family. Det. Steve Springer was a law enforcement colossus. Tough, funny, conscientious – a bloodhound on the investigative trail. It was an honor to serve with him in the Detective Bureau. Rest in peace, Steve.

  12. It was an true honor to know and work with this remarkable man! I had the pleasure to share “the squad room” with Steve in PPD Detective Division for over 10 years. Best “police sense” and common sense ever! I always looked up to, respected and appreciated him! So sorry we lost touch after retirement! As a woman on the job in the late 70’s 80’s and 90’s, I have to say…….always a classy, wonderful gentleman!
    Love to your family…..
    God speed

  13. Dear Ginny
    My Deepest Sympathy to you and your family. I hope you find peace and comfort knowing what a wonderful man your husband was, I will miss seeing you both at the Wild Colonial. Although I am not able to join the service and say goodbye to my dear friend, I will be there in spirit. Take care Ginny.

  14. Tthoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family. We at NESPIN’s intelligence unit truly enjoyed doing work for Steve. He always had a kind word for us and truly supported us in many ways. He was the best at sending us “success stories” while he was at the AG’s office. We were sad to see him retire. And we still talk about him. Our condolences to you all from NESPIN. Steve was a fantastic investigator and a wonderful individual.

  15. Steve…As a young cop, you were a mentor to me in so many ways, as you were to so many others in law enforcement. I thank you for all your guidance and advice. If they were to create a template to be a great cop they would look at you first ! Be at peace Steve and know that you have left an incredible legacy in RI Law Enforcement

  16. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve on numerous occasions during both our LE career , and often used his professional acts while conducting Officer Survival lecture at the RIMPA. The Ri community has lost an outstanding and dedicated professional. My condolences to his family, and RIP to you brother.

  17. Steve was the best of the best in every single way that you can measure a human being. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him at Providence PD.

  18. Our prayers and condolences go out to the Springer family. It was a privilege to work with Steve in the PPD detective division. He truly was a legend in the law enforcement community in RI.

  19. I know my father was waiting with a cold beer and a big smile up at the big bar in the sky to be reunited with his PPD partner and good friend. It makes me smile to think of them retelling the stories of their days together on the police force – stories they refused to tell around us when my brother and I were “too young”. My mother has told us many of those stories now that we are older, always with a laugh – they had some crazy times! Mr. Springer was always a legend to us; a man among men. I remember strong bear hugs, and one really crazy ride on a speedboat that Mr. Springer and my father decided not to tell my mother about. We, as a family, were lucky to have him in our lives. Mr. Springer, give my dad one of those bear hugs for us.

    “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”

    -Meghan, Sean and Kelly O’Brien

  20. Ginny and family,

    Those we love don’t go away,

    They walk beside us every day…..

    Unseen, unheard,  but always near,

    Still loved, still missed, and very dear.

    Sincere sympathies,
    Joanne A. (Springer) Grigoreas,
    New Durham, NH

  21. My deepest condolences to the family.Steve a great guy and friend.Rest in peace My Brother.

  22. We hope that the memories of your beautiful time together bring you peace. You are in our prayers.

  23. I had been blessed to be shown the proper way to police and to treat victims and fellow officers by this great man’s example and counsel first hand. Toughest guy, very smart and a great big heart. Helped me with passion and strength through some of my most trying times as he did with so many others. All knew his toughness but many knew his sense of sympathy and caring and his drive to help all those affected by crime and loss. My condolences to Ginny and family. Plain and simple. He was the best

  24. Ginny…we are deeply sadden to hear of uncle Stephens passing ..we hold in our hearts wonderful memories of him.. we remember him as that strong handsome man who always greated us with a big smile and warm heart.we let life get in the way and think that there’s always tomorrow. But tomorrow is never gaurented and yesterday has passed us by..We always wish that we had more time with our lived ones. It seems that there’s never enough time..we pray that God gives you the strength you need at this difficult time but most of all that he gives you peace..


    David andvMaria

  25. I am very sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. If there is a saving grace, it is that with each passing day your family’s memories of Steve will grow stronger and your love love deeper. Steve’s impact on our state’s justice system will be lasting. He was simply a wonderful person. We at Justice Assistance call it an honor to have been associated him. He will be missed.

  26. Ginny, my deepest condolences. I think these pages reflect the fact that any person who had the pleasure of serving with Steve, including fellow officers and prosecutors, could recount at least half a dozen stories that left a lasting impression, and served as an example of doing things the right way. He will be sorely missed, and never forgotten.

  27. My deepest sympathy to Ginny, and the family. Steve was such a fine man with so many attributes. May the Angels take him to Paradise.

    God bless,

  28. On behalf of the Veterans Affairs Police Departments Providence, Rhode Island field office, I am writing to express our great sorrow for the loss of Detective Steven Springer.

    To the Springer Family, please accept our heartfelt condolences from the whole staff of the Veterans Affairs Police Departments Providence, Rhode Island field office.

  29. Ginny,
    Amy and I offer our condolences for the loss of Steve. We will miss seeing him relaxing outside.

    Jeff and Amy Rockwell

  30. Dear Springer Family,

    May he Rest In Peace in Heaven with the Angels. His job is done here on earth. Steve was not only a great detective, but a good class mate and friend! I will keep all of you in my prayers during your time of sorrow. God Bless.

    Brian D. Burke
    Detective Commander
    Smithfield Police Department

  31. I am sorry to hear about the passing of Stephen Springer, my heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. Please know that I am thinking of you and I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  32. Ginny, I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t say it any better than Aaron’s tribute above. When I first went into private practice after leaving the AG’s office one of the first things had to get used to was going to the prison without Steve’s escort. You always felt safe when Steve as around. A tremendous loss indeed.
    All my love, Melissa Larsen

  33. It is an accepted maxim in law enforcement that Steve Springer was the the finest investigator in Rhode Island history. For those that knew him he was a great friend, funny and a great story teller. An outstanding human being who will be greatly missed. I feel fortunate to have known him. So sorry for your loss Ginny and family. Peace to you Steve, job well done.

  34. The best police officer i ever worked with,no doubt..We were and are a tight group first,second, third and fourth squads great police work done and alot of bad guys were taken off the streets.If Steve said lets go no matter what was going on we all went a sign of a great leader.Steve a job well done and plenty of great memories God Bless .

  35. Steve was a man one never forgets. Our sincere and loving sympathies to all of his loved ones and family. We will remember him fondly. The Check the Florist Family.

  36. To the entire Springer Family, So sorry for your great loss Steve was a living legend, I will never forget the times we had together on the golf course and down the FOP, you are all in my prayers and heart . Jim Angell

  37. I had the great opportunity to work with and learn from Steve as a Detective with the State Police. If any investigation lead through Providence Steve was the man who would either have information to help or have a source that could! I found him him to be respectful to everyone and willing to help ,this during a time when the perception was the opposite . I greatly admired him and feel his loss… may you Rest In Peace … PPD has lost a true Icon and gentlemen.

    Jim Lynch ret RISP Detective

  38. To the entire Springer Family, So sorry for your great loss Steve was a living legend, I will never forget the times we had together on the golf course and down the FOP, you are all in my prayers and heart . Jim Angell

  39. Rest in Peace Stephen

  40. Stephen Springer was a man of his word, kind and compassionate. He was the go to guy when you needed information in law enforcement. I had the pleasure of severing in the town Stephen lived for many years and worked several cases alone side of him. A true legend RIP my friend you will be missed.

  41. Ginny,
    My sincere condolences on the passing of Steve. I knew Steve for many years and was a Cops – Cops. A great person.

    Tony Phillips, Ret. Det. No. Prov.PD
    Pompano Beach,Fl

  42. Our deepest sympathy to all.Rest in peace cousin Steve

  43. Ginny – My thoughts and prayers go out to you and his entire family at this difficult time. Steve was a great man and we had many laughs that will never be forgotten.

    With sincere Sympathy,

  44. Ginny, I am so sorry. I hope that knowing how loved he was offers you some comfort. I am so grateful to have had the honor of spending time with Steve, at work and of course the WC. He taught me so many valuable life lessons. Steve, I will miss you, my friend.

  45. Ginny – I am so sorry for your loss. Steve was an incredible man and such a wonderful spirit to be around. His smile and laughter was always contagious and something I always admired. such a sweet soul. 🙂

  46. A TRUE legend has left the earthly plane….. May all who knew Steve be reunited with him on the other side. Rest In Peace, Steve.

  47. Steve’s story endures. A good man. Great cop. A gentle soul. Quite the legacy that. Rest brother.

    Steve Ryan

  48. I first met Steve when I was a young Explorer Scout in 1974 he was a new night Detective. Even as a young teenager he never talked down to me or treated me as anything less than a colleague. That relationship would stand for some 45 years. He was a true professional, a gentle soul, and a force to be reckoned with. Rest in peace old friend, see you on the other side.

  49. Much love. I have deleted 20 unremarkable comments because there just aren’t words. He was a truly good man.

  50. Ginny, I am so sorry for your loss! Rhode Island has lost one of its greatest sons.

    I’ve never met a finer, more decent, and wholly incorruptible man. I looked up to Steve (literally as well of course!), learned from him, revered him. There was a reason why we all at the Office considered him a living legend, truly – and not just because he was a cop’s cop, the best police officer of his generation; but because he had such incredibly good sense and an even better moral, ethical and legal compass. I will always remember his wisdom, wit, guidance and friendship, and feel humbled and privileged by the times he spent with me, allowing me to observe and interact with a truly great man. I will treasure those memories always.

    Aaron W.

  51. To Ginny and the Springer family..I am so sorry for you loss. Thought and prayers for your family.

  52. I am so sorry to the Springer Family! We had some laughs at breakfast and was so helpful when my daughter was TBoned at Carousel! Springer! May you RIP.

  53. Ginney, not only was he the greatest husband and friend he was the greatest Cop anyone would want protecting this state. RIP my friend! love Joann Macari

  54. RIP Steve

  55. There are not enough words to say the influence this man had on me, and I am sure countless other law enforcement officers. Truly a legend. You will be missed!

  56. Rest in Peace, Uncle Steve.

  57. Detective Stephen J. Springer was a mountain of a man. Kind, compassionate, dedicated, honorable and integrity beyond reproach. The Providence Police Department enjoys the reputation it has today because of Detective Springer’s work in Providence for 35 years. RIP big man, you served with distinction and honor. Thank you for paving the way.
    Steven M. Pare
    Commissioner of Public Safety
    City of Providence

  58. Steve was the best! He and I started at the AG’s office in 04 together and he would wish me a happy work anniversary every year. A great man lost too soon. I am so sorry Ginny for your loss.

  59. A true legend in law enforcement. His knowledge of criminals on the street was awesome. If you were investigating any type of crime, especially violent ones, call Steve and he would always point you in the right direction. He will be a huge loss to law enforcement. My sincere and deep condolences go out to his wife, family, and friends. Rest in peace Brother.

  60. I will always remember Stephen as…Stephen “ The Stinger” Springer. Memories of Stephen will bring a smile to my face as I’m sure it will for others as well. My condolences go out to his wife, family and friends. Rest In Peace Stephen and know that you will be missed.
    With sincere sympathy,
    Kerri-Rae Agin

  61. Ms. Ginn and Springer family, I had the pleasure of meeting Steve many years ago through his PPD partner, Tim. My sincere condolences on your loss.

  62. Virginia,
    We are very sorry about the loss of your husband Steven.
    With our sincere sympathy,
    Raymond & Eloise Agin

  63. Ginny – I am so sorry for your loss. Steve was ‘larger than life’ on many levels.
    Always gave me a run for my money, for sure, (which I secretly enjoyed)! 🙂 A character. He also gave so much of himself to policing, to the Department of Attorney General and to you; and I know he will be missed.

    in sympathy,

  64. My deepest condolences to Stephen’s wife Virginia, Nancy & Herb, Phyllis & David. He was a wonderful person. He wrote a really cute poem about my freckles that always brings a smile when I read it. I think of him often with the fondest memories.
    Rest in peace.

  65. Steve was such a great man! It was a pleasure to work with him at the AG’s office. My condolences to Ginny and his family. RIP Steve!

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