Thursday, January 29, 2009

I want to thank Hugh Hazelrigg who first implemented this tribute upon his web site for me. I have transferred it to this site and have added a few more pictures and will continue to update it as more pictures become available, there are at least three more that have been promised to me. Hugh has said that this presentation seems to be of Steve and my family, but of course it is because largely, the only pictures taken of Steve was when he was with me and my family. He considered himself family as did all of us. I consider Steve my brother.

Steve Dowling
September 26, 1942–October 30, 2008

A Remembrance by Mike Junker

Steve was taken ill while mixing concrete and pouring the footings for his shop. First, he got a blood clot in a leg, probably from a bruise from banging his leg with an 80 pound bag of concrete (Steve’s surmise when I talked with him). About a week after that, he went for a doctor’s appointment and from that went straight to the hospital, directly into surgery from which he never recovered. My sister, Sue, was with him at the hospital and the doctors couldn’t get in touch with his wife, Pearl. Steve asked Sue to drive out to Bethel Lane to see if she could find Pearl and tell her he was going into surgery. Sue found her and told her about Steve's surgery. Sue went every day to visit Steve in the hospital even though Pearl would not allow any visitors or telephone calls. Pearl had Steve cremated immediately after his death and then suppressed his obituary. Steve’s brother, Jerry, put an obituary in the H-T but Pearl later had them print a letter of retraction in which the obituary was disclaimed because of "falsehoods" and chastised the H-T for publishing it. The obituary was NOT false, it just tremendously understated Steve’s life, friends and accomplishments. His fellow maintenance workers at IU intend to have a memorial ceremony honoring him in the spring of 2009.

May 31, 1964—Steve & Kathy Hollingsworth (one of Linda’s maids of honor), carrying out gifts after Mike & Linda's wedding in the Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, IN.

July, 1973—Steve swimming in Greensboro, NC. We were living in Columbus, SC and Steve came down and helped us move to Greensboro. I was going to be teaching at the University of North Carolina at the time. Steve stayed a while with us at the apartment in Greensboro. It had a nice swimming pool.

July, 1973—Same time, same pool, same roll of film. Steve goofing off with Penny Junker, my daughter, age 6.

Spring 1975—Steve at the beach in Biloxi, MS. We moved from North Carolina to Baton Rouge, and Linda had to stay in NC to finish her Medical Technology exams. Steve brought a cattle trailer and helped us move. We drove all day and stopped at a truck stop somewhere in Mississippi. Steve slept in his truck and the kids, Penny and Mark, and I slept in the back of our station wagon. We then drove to Baton Rouge and had to camp out in a KOA park until I could get an apartment. There are no natural sand beaches on LA’s gulf shore so we went to Mississippi.
My daughter Penny corrects me. It is true that there are no natural sand beaches, but in 1975 when we moved down with Steve's help, we went to Fountainbleu State Park which at that time had an artificial sand beach which was lost a few years later in a hurricane—it's just mud now.

August 1975—Steve helping us with the move to Baton Rouge, pictured here at KOA campground in Denham Springs, LA. Steve had draped a massive canvas over his trailer to protect our furniture, etc. from any rain. I was towing a smaller trailer and had a luggage carrier on top of our car. Steve had Linda’s and my motorcycles in the bed of his truck.

1976—We got an apartment on Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge and Steve came and visited us the next year. It was a two bedroom, LSU student apartment. I was enrolled in LSU Chemical Engineering Dept. where I was getting a Master's in Chemical Engineering.

Summer, 1978—I had finished my MSChE at LSU and was working for Celanese Chemical Company in Corpus Christi, TX. We traveled back to Bloomington that summer for my wife’s maternal grandmother’s (Mimi) Birthday, we stayed in Bloomington with my wife’s parents. While there, Steve and I got together and worked on a car—Steve’s, I believe; that’s a tubing cutter in his hand. Linda’s grandmother, Mimi, died later that year and we had to make an emergency run to Wilmington, OH for the funeral.
Side observations: Steve actually attended an accredited mechanic’s school in Ottumwa, IA prior to entering into a 7-year apprenticeship with Paul Goodman, Larry Goodman’s father. Also, Steve used to race figure 8 destruction derbies at the Bloomington Speedway and I worked as one of his mechanics.

Late 1970s—Steve, Mike and Linda at the Blakely's (Linda's parents), 116 South Meadowbrook, Bloomington. We are looking at pictures—of what I don’t know. Linda and I were living in Newberry, SC at this time. The short sleeves suggest this was probably in the summer months. I was teaching at Newberry College then and usually had time to visit Bloomington.

1986—In 1983, we moved again—this time without Steve’s help—from Lake Charles, LA to Baton Rouge. We bought an old house, about a hundred years old, that needed serious repairs. Steve visited us and helped with several repair jobs—such as replacing weights on the windows, etc. He said that for a house warming present he would build us custom cabinets for our kitchen—the existing ones were rather shabby painted units. Steve took measurements and then for the next 2–2½ years he worked on the cabinets during his spare time. During this time, we made several trips to Bloomington. While there, I also worked with him on the cabinets. They are solid Oak and have a hand rubbed Watco oil finish. Steve told me that there was over $5,000 just in the wood! Steve also had a custom spill lip countertop made because NO one in Louisiana or Mississippi had ever heard of such a thing! In order to bring the cabinets and countertop to Baton Rouge, Steve built a custom trailer and hauled it down to us and removed the old cabinets and installed the new ones. Here we are disassembling the old ones.

1986—Steve, standing on the counter top, prepares to install new cabinets in our house in Baton Rouge. Steve was always “On Top” of every job.

1986—Linda holds the new cabinet while Steve screws it in place.

1986—Steve & Linda installing cabinet door hardware.

1986—Steve and Mike at computer at Blakely's, 116 South Meadowbrook, Bloomington.

1988—Steve was always “Crazy Uncle Steve” to my kids, Penny and Mark. Penny finished her BA degree in English at LSU and was attending IU for an advanced degree in English. She wound up with an MA in English and an MLS in Library Science before she quit IU. Here Steve is readying his horse for Penny to ride out at his ranch on Bethel Lane in Bloomington.
(A remembrance of "Crazy Uncle Steve" by my daughter, Penelope Junker Piercy)
It's odd that one has clear memories of different events and people and yet there are no pictures. I remember Steve taking Mark, me, and my friend Nona Silvia on a day trip from Lake Charles to the Astroworld theme park in Houston back in the summer of 1981. I'll never forget when we were waiting in line for it to open so we could get in and he hefted up Nona in front of the crowd and began this auction bit about "what do I have for this lovely teenage girl..." It was both funny and mortifying at the same time. And then I remember Steve taking me out to practice driving in his pickup truck during a visit to Lake Charles (the same visit as the Astroworld trip, I suppose) at the Our Lady of the Lake Catholic church, which had some windy drives amongst pine trees. There were rust holes in the floorboard on the passenger side of the truck where you could see the road underneath--again, I was mortified, lest someone I knew might see me! But Steve had me practice steering while the car traveled at idling speed along the church's driveways. And of course years on, Steve made himself available to help us unload furniture and boxes in Bloomington whenever we moved from one place to another. Geez, he could back a truck or truck-and-trailer into any kind of space imaginable! But I have no pictures of any of those moments, except in my mind.

June 1991—Gary Lentz, Steve Dowling & Mike Junker at the class reunion party.

June 1991---Here we are at the reception dinner for the reunion.

June 1991—Steve at 1961 class reunion picnic at The Pointe, near Tom McGlasson's house, Bloomington.

1992—We had a downstairs toilet in which the floor had rotted due to a leaking seal on the toilet (the house we bought was over 100 years old and we "bought" the floor in this condition). Steve came down to visit and to help me work on the floor. The first thing Steve did after taking a look at the floor is that he pulled out a hammer and started breaking up the floor tile!

1992—I thought he had lost it, but it all worked out in the end. This is pretty characteristic of Steve, he went into action, he didn't ponder things much. When he saw a need, he acted. This is true in fixing things as well as helping people. When others might equivocate, Steve acted.

1992—When we finished with the flooring work, we went down to New Orleans and visited the Audubon Zoo. We took a river boat, the John James Audubon, which docks at the Zoo.

1992—We also went to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans on the riverfront. Here we are pondering some display. The aquarium is naturalistic, the birds and animals are relatively free to roam around in settings like their normal environments. It also features an underwater tunnel through the aquarium where one can look up at the fishes swimming overhead.

1992—Here we are at the zoo looking at exhibits. The animals are in distinct areas which, although zoo-like, are a reasonably naturalistic environment. Note Steve’s shirt—Noble Roman’s Bloomington Junior Open. My shirt is for the National Hot Air Ballooning Competition held in Baton Rouge.

1997—Steve and I pose at the Blakely’s house on Meadowbrook. We always got together whenever I was in Bloomington. Steve used to delight in showing off the changes in Bloomington since my last visit and then we also would visit all our old friends. We’d usually visit Karen Neumann (nee) and Gary Lentz (Karen’s ex-husband) as well as others. Plus we always stopped at IU’s maintenance shop. Steve ran the snack concessions—something he voluntarily started and ran until he died (theoretically he had turned it over to another employee, but Steve always kept a check on it). The profits from that concession were used to help needy people. Steve was very proud of how much money he could turn over for help. He never took any money to defray his expenses in running this operation.

2000—Our son Mark Louis Junker (he was named after my best man Mark Allen Goodwin and Linda’s Maternal grandfather Louis Vandervort Lieurance), died February 22, 1999. Because of the wintry conditions, it was impossible to inter him until Memorial Day 2000. Steve drove over and attended the interment in New Antioch Cemetery just outside of Wilmington, Ohio. This cemetery contains Linda’s relatives going back unto just after the Revolutionary War when her ancestors settled upon the land Given soldiers by the Continental Congress in lieu of pay for service during the war. Mark and his older brother Michael are buried side-by-side in the family plot for her grandparents. I designed a common headstone to commemorate both.Pictured L to R: Robert Blakely, Linda’s father; Caretaker of the cemetery; Steve; Me; Sue, my oldest sister who lives in Bloomington.

2000—We had a brief ceremony as Mark’s remains were laid to rest.Pictured L to R : Van Piercy, Penny’s husband; Patrick Piercy, Penny’s son; Penny; Steve, Louise Daniels, Linda’s aunt; Linda; Me; Robert Blakely, Linda’s father.

2001—Steve stirring his drink at the class reunion picnic at The Pointe, Lake Monroe.

2001---The shirt I am wearing is a shirt Steve had made up with his furniture LOGO and address applicaded on. Steve gave me this shirt about a year before, I told him I was going to wear it at the reunion. It's the only shirt like it in existence, it was the shirt made up for his approval. He had it made in my size to give to me!

2001—Steve visiting with classmates at the class reunion reception later that night.

2005—My in-laws moved into the Meadowood Retirement Community. Here Steve and I pose for a picture in their housing unit.

May 2006—Linda visited her parents in May to present a travel lecture to the Meadowood community. While there, she weeded her mother’s flower beds. Steve stopped by and visited Linda and her dirty knees from the “farming work.” I don’t know what was so interesting, but it must have been good.

2008—The only time Steve ever asked for something from one of Linda’s and my trips was on our trip to Russia. Steve asked me to bring him a real Russian fur cap. I couldn’t just buy Steve a hat—I had to get one for myself. Here we pose (again at my in-laws in Meadowood—note the same backdrop as in the earlier picture) in our Russian hats. One can see how happy Steve was to get it. During this trip, I also helped Steve use a transit to lay out an area in his large barn for the shop he was planning on opening. Steve was a Master Cabinet Maker, but mathematics and geometry gave him some problems so I helped him on this project and others that required transit work.