|Steve Wafer: 24th November 1955 - 11th December 2003|
|This page is dedicated to the memory of a lifelong friend and companion who died tragically in an accident.|
Tribute to Steve as written by Joe Murphy and read by him at Steve's funeral on the 22nd December 2003
Ste would have loved to see you all gathered together, though he wouldn't be too chuffed at the venue. I am not going to give you my version of his life story now but I will be available for rambling later. This is just a small personal tribute to his kind nature and unique character.
Yes we must mourn his passing but I am positive that the Stephen I knew would not wish to leave you sad or miserable. That was not his way. There was not a shred of malice in him. Even at his most grumpy and cantankerous, often after severe provoking of course, he could come back at man, woman, boy, girl or dog with a "But I love you really". And yes he truly could have a reasoned discussion with a dog.
All week I've been speaking to people from every aspect of his life and it stood out that no matter how long since they saw Stephen he shone vividly in their minds. He came from a loving family, Edie, Hugh, Mo, Angela and he carried their generosity and hospitality wherever he went from Kensington to Wallington via the Greek Islands.
He was proud of his family and they of him, I know they will agree that
he was a good son and a good brother and uncle, not out of duty but out
of love. I need hardly add that he was like a brother to me. He made his
family his friends and his friends feel like family. He was able to bring
people together and I am sure I am not alone in having good companions
to this day who were introduced to me by Steve many years ago. It is as
tribute to his own loyalty that some very long standing mates are here
now, I've known him 37 years and I'm only 32, but Steve always had a better
grasp of maths than me.
His strength of will showed itself a year later when he prevailed over the Careers Teacher and became the only boy not to apply for degree courses. Thus subsequently joining Littlewoods and earning his own living. Here he made many friends and thanks to his ability to share so did I. His delight in word play found Echoes in Old Hall Street, particularly from Alan but don't worry I am not going to say I used to be a werewolf. Stephen could even make working in Littlewoods sound like fun.
Ste was fun and gave fun and didn't mind having it poked at him. He had a forgiving nature. He liked few things better than weekends and holidays playing long sessions of backgammon and organising charades (or Charards is it George?) where he would be the compere. He enjoyed his friends enjoyment.
Ste was not one to push his company onto others but the splendid people of the Dukes Head bar in Wallington recognised his consistency of character and made him part of their community. Good spirited people do come together.
Stephen showed great resilience when life dealt him hard blows in swift succession - the death of Angela, Hughie and Edie, work and relationship problems. Through it all he thought of others - being kind and understanding to me when I was ill and devoting intensive care to Paddy. Ste had a lot of love in him. Even when suffering from depression let's remember that Ste ended his phone calls with "Hello" not "Goodbye" and after the accident his Christmas "To Do" list was found in the house, he was bouncing back again. At his lowest low he couldn't do self pity.
His final gift to us perhaps is that his tragic accident reminds us, and I know he liked the quote, that "Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friends". Our final gift to him should be to make the most of every moment we have left.
I miss him but he will be with me always. He was a little big man, a
bundle of magic.
|An old pic of Steve at his house where we spent much of our youth (thanks to Edie and Hugh too!)|
|In Greece with JT and Joe|
|The old gang at George's wedding. Pete (drums), Stevie (lyrics), Geoff, George (keyboard), Mike (bass), Joe and me|
|Even older pic at Pete's wedding: Mike, me, Pete, Steve, George|
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