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Sailing away with Dignity

This is so hard to write. My wonderful Steve died this afternoon.

Everything happened so fast. The day after I wrote the last blog, Steve’s high temperature continued to worsen. He started becoming more confused and losing his coordination. Each day he dramatically worsen. Yesterday morning when I arrived at the hospital, Steve was barely conscious and Professor Linch was waiting to talk to me. He basically said that none of the treatment Steve was on was working and he felt it best to withdraw all treatment and make him as comfortable a possible. I knew then that Steve had lost his fight with lymphoma.

I reluctantly called our son Ben in New York who immediately booked a flight for himself, his fiancee Amy and his brother Sam (who had only just arrived in the States from Australia the previous day).

I spent the night with Steve who stayed comfortable and sleeping peacefully. I asked him many times to hang on as Ben and Sam were on their way to see him. The nurses were great, looking after him with care and always maintaining his dignity.

Ben, Amy and Sam arrived at the hospital soon after 10 am this morning and with their older brother John, were able to spend the last two hours with their Dad before he died. I am sure Steve hung on to have this time with his boys and me before he sailed away from this life.

We are all devastated.

43 comments to Sailing away with Dignity

  • Allayne Coon

    Oh, Helen, we are so, so sorry to hear that! You are all in our thoughts
    Allayne and Dennis
    s/v Audrey Paige

  • Anne Holland

    Holding you all in our hearts. Anne & John Holland. We love you guys.

  • John & Jose Reyden

    Dear Helen, this is the saddest entry on the Dignity Blog, we are so very sorry to hear that Steve has lost his courageous battle. We are all very sad at this sudden change. We wish you and your family lots strength and love to you all. Will be in touch through email later. Take care, thinking of you. John, Jose, Lissa, Megan, Carrie xxx

  • Karen Ulric

    Oh Helen. I’m so sorry I will be holding you and yours in my heart.

  • We are very sorry to hear of your loss. We didn’t get a chance to talk with Steve and only met you for about five minutes as Lorraine and I left the room on the day Steve arrived at the Alfred Hospital but through you writings I feel I got to know him and you very well.
    Lorraine and I are thinking of you and your family at this time and wish you well for the future.
    Bruce and Lorraine Ellis
    Paynesville. Victoria. Australia.

  • Karen Taylor

    Dear Helen, We are devastated by your news. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. And, of course, Steve will always be in our hearts. Our condolences to you and your family.

  • Jim Ewing

    Dear Helen, There really are no words. But there are a ton of memories of a truly amazing guy. Hold onto yours as I will. Jim

  • lew randal and Tracey M.

    Oh no Helen, We are so very sad to hear Steves gone. I cant believe it……….what a battle you both fought. I wish there were a way to help with the gaping hole in your heart but I know nothing is going to ease the pain for you right now so this is just to say , we love you both, you have come to mean so much to us. I will never ever forget the ponytailed handsome sailor and his beloved princess anchored in Jacks Bay. Dignity, that sums up who you are
    and how you lived your lives together. What a sad old world this is today Much much love, Kia Kaha dear one xxxx

  • Anonymous

    So sorry to read about Steve. Please accept my condolences.
    I worked with Steve in Warren – I will let the team at Citi know.
    Steve will be my heart; thoughts and prayers for you and your family.


  • We share the feelings of your loss, we never met Steve however the blog has been so very useful to us and if in the future it remains to be used there will be many more grateful sailors.
    The seas have lost a sailor….. Frank & Vivien Maunders “DOMINOS” Greek Islands.

  • Paul van Dinther

    Helen, Ben, Sam and family, I wish you strength during these tough days. I got to know you guys as a strong family and I trust you find support with each other. Good to read everyone made it to be together. I will miss Steve and his lightning fast insights.

  • Karen croft

    Dear Helen Ben and Sam what a tragedy so glad you where all with Steve in his last minutes . Take comfort in the blue print he leaves behind in such an amazing family. My love to you all

    Karen xxxx

  • mick sutton

    words cant express the sorrow i feel for you and your family at the moment.
    the world has lost a good man, and you have lost a very good friend, companion and husband.
    try to be strong for the boys, i know they will miss him nearly as much as you will.
    although it is some time since i last saw you two, one thing that always impressed me
    was that you never seemed to have a bad word for anyone, or if you did, you kept it to yourself.
    it is a trait that i have tried,(and failed dismally) to emulate.
    i wish you strength to get through the next, difficult few days, and the peace to grieve over the coming weeks and months.
    none of us that met Steve and you will ever forget you both, and for good reasons, not bad.

    all of our love,

    mick and nicky

  • Dear Helen,
    Our thoughts are with you and the boys.
    Much love from the Budds

  • Anonymous

    Helen, I never got the chance to meet Steve though I felt I knew the whole family through the great writings in this wonderful blog which I’ve been following for over three years now. Steve and I had emailed one another and we have hoped that we would have got the chance to meet up if you had come up to the Edinburgh festival this month. Sadly I will never get to meet the man but you have many wonderful years together and it was clear from Steve’s writing that you were not only his wife, but his best friend.
    We feel for you loss Helen and we are all thinking about you and your family today.
    Gordon (Ross)

  • Sue L.

    Helen, we were so very sorry to hear about Steve. Sending you and your boys our warmest hugs. Love, Sue and Joe

  • Gregg Scharnagl

    Oh my God, Helen, I am so sorry to hear that. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and the boys. He fought a tremendous fight, and you have more than a lifetime’s worth of memories from your great adventures. We wish you all the best.

  • Terrible news to hear Helen.. I’m sure, like you say, that Steve waited for the rest of your family to arrive before finally having to let go of this life ..Strong, loving and courageous to the end.. My thoughts and love with you all ..much love suexxx

  • Anonymous

    Dear Helen and the whole family,

    I dont know you well personally but I did meet you and steve a number of times years ago before your adventure as I was very good friends with your son John. I am so sorry to hear of your journey and loss, I know steve was pretty unique and terribly successful in all that he undertook and I am sure form what I have heard over the years that you all enjoyed a wonderful life together. Sending you all my very best thoughts and much love Emma Jeans (Lardner) xx

  • Jen and John Hoare

    We are very sad to hear of Steve’s death and send you our love and prayers at this difficult time. You are very much in our thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Steve and Nora
    So sorry to hear the dreadful news Helen. We only met you both briefly in Brisbane MTBC while you were getting Dignity ready for sale. In that brief time, Steve made quite an impression, and we continued to follow the blog over the following months hoping for the best. His energy, positive attitude and zest for life continued to shine through, despite everything.
    At least, as time dulls the pain of loss, you will be able to look back on some wonderful memories. We wish you courage and strength to get through this tragic period in your life.

  • Anonymous

    I have never met Steve in person but had the opportunity to work with him for a few years. He is the best manager I ever worked for. Even after many years we still follow most of the processes he defined. Several people in my team are a big fan of his management capabilities. This is a shocking news to all of us. Our heart felt condolences to the family and friends.

    James Andrew

  • Anita Parker

    Hello Helen, I am sooo sorry to hear this. Worked with Steve during his time at Citi – he was so fun and wonderful to talk to and I think I learned something every time I spoke with him. Steve is in our hearts and memories. Our thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Wish you all the best.

  • Kit Davies

    Along with everyone at Citi who knew Steve, I mourn the loss of our charismatic and influential manager. Helen, we are feeling the pain of Steve’s passing here in New York and New Jersey. I send thoughts of peace and courage to you, Ben, Sam and Amy. Kit Davies

  • Ziggy

    Dear Helen. We are so saddened by this news. We were so lucky to sail with Steve in the earliest days of your adventure. Our thoughts are with you and your boys. May fair winds be with you. Love ziggy John and the kids.

  • Stuart and Shelia Stovall

    Dear Helen: We are so sad. You are in our prayers. We love
    you and Steve so much. You are so right; Steve waited around to have time with you and his boys. He loves his family!
    Stuart and Shelia,

  • Claudia & George Fischer, SY DREAMTIME

    Dear Helen,

    please accept our heartfelt condolences. So sad Steve didn’t get more time after fighting so hard to survive. In time maybe you will be able to find comfort in the fact, that the two of you lived your dreams instead of just talking about them.
    You and your sons are in our thoughts and we are thankful for the time we were able to spend with you and Steve whenever we met cruising the South Pacific.
    Claudia & George

  • Anonymous

    Dear Helen
    We are so very very sad that Steve has lost his valient battle against lymphoma. We were priveleged to have known you both for a short time only, but we realised what an amazing and special person he was. Our hearts go out to you and your family at this very sad and difficult time.
    Pat & David

  • This has been a “one-sided love affair” for me with the two of you. I have loved “getting to know” you both through this wonderful blog…which I found through another blog of an acquaintance. Tears are with me as I grieve the loss of a wonderful man I never met and the sadness I feel for you, one of the most courageous women in the world as far as I can see. The prayers of my heart are winging their way to you and your family at this sad, sad time. The world is less today for it has lost a very special person. Time will help you heal as will all those friends and family who will surround you. I wish you peace. Gail, formerly of Greene Light

  • The Jacksters

    Dear Helen, John, Ben & Sam, So sorry to hear your saddest news.
    I remember the first day I met Steve at the bar at Clarke’s Court Bay in Grenada, and upon hearing the name of your boat was ‘Dignity’, I replied ‘Please tell me it was inspired by Deacon Blue’ to which Steve replied ‘But of course’. We have sailed, dived, partied and laughed together, and now we cry.
    Dignity will live on through Deacon Blue, and Steve will live on through you.
    Fair winds and calm seas for you and the boys
    With our love Jacqui & David

  • Anonymous

    A couple of weeks ago I realized something was wrong because I did not get a response from my email. Then I decided to go to the blog. I saw that Steve was having memory loss problems, which also happened to my cousin, along with the high fever, that never went away. Today, when I went to the blog, I could not believe what I was reading. I had to read it a couple of times. Steve put up a great fight and I really hoped he would be the one, we would read about, that he beat the odds. I am so happy to have known Steve, you, your sons and future daughter-in-law. He is on my top 10 people you would like to know in your lifetime. I am happy that the family was able to be together at the end. I know that is how Steve would of wanted it to be. My sincere sympathy in your time of loss. Steve was so lucky to have you in his life.


  • Anonymous

    Dearest Helen,John ,Ben and Sam
    We will always remember the good times we shared with you and Steve.Our thoughts are with you now.
    Di and Gerald

  • Colin & Judy Barnes

    To Helen and family, We are saddened to here of Steves passing. We are ever so grateful of the time we spent on Dignity with you and Steve. He made such a lasting impression on us that we will never forget the time we spent with you both. The world has lost a wonderful man. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
    Love to you all
    Colin & Judy

  • Helen an family. As tears are running down my face it is hard to write but I want you to know that we are thinking of you and are happy we got to meet you however brief.
    Your friends in Tonga
    Kjell and Adriana

  • Anonymous

    Helen,although we have not met ,Suzie and I ,the new owners of Dignity are deeply sadened by Steve’s passing.Steve, I know was aware that we were considering a name change and after hearing the reason for the name in the first place and in memory of Steve there will be no change of name.At our next opportunity when back on board we will raise our glasses to Steve on the deck of the wonderful Dignity.
    Sue and Peter Gibson

  • Helen I’m so sorry. A long fight bravely fought with courage and yes, with dignity. My thoughts are with you.

  • Tom

    He will be missed by the crew of Emily Grace. No one can say his life was not well-lived, surrounded by friends and family. Much love and a wish of strength to those left behind.

  • Della Henderson

    Dear Helen and family, I am so terribly sorry for your loss and I wish you and your children all the best and God’s blessings during this very difficult time.
    Della Henderson (Golda Och Academy)

  • Laurie Brown

    Dear Helen,

    Many years ago Larry and I, with food in hand from one of the vendors at the Liberty Landing Boat show, searched for a place to sit and eat at one of the shared tables. We had been stood up by friends and glancing around I said to Larry…”look at that couple sitting over there pouring over pamphlets, let’s make them our new friends.” We sat down with you and Steve, and within in a few minutes were in awe listening to your plan to buy a boat and sail around the world. We invited you to sail on Timeless 1 and the rest is history….you bought her leading to the purchase of beautiful Dignity. Although we don’t know you well,….your commitment to each other, your courage, your love of life……has inspired us to look at each day as a gift. We thank you both for that. When our son graduated, we created a piece of artwork that included a picture of a beautiful sailboat against the horizon that we took in Virgin Gorda. On the picture we superimposed a quote written by Mark Twain that read:

    “Twenty Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did, so…throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    The way you lived your life was the inspiration for its creation.

    May your memories of Steve give you and your family comfort.

    Best Wishes, Laurie and Larry Brown

  • Dee Norman

    Dear Helen and family, soooo sorry about Steve, we thought he was doing so well and so shocked to hear the news. We have wonderful memories of meeting you two in Fiji swimming with mantarays and hearing your familiar London accents. All I can say is, it was a blessing to meet him again here in Sydney after your Spit to Manly walk and all have a lovely lunch together. He was a brave and lovely man. We are sending love and condolences to you and your family. x x x x x x x x

  • Phil & Kristina Chjallands

    Hello Helen. Kristina and I are so sorry to hear about Steve. We have great memories of you both in the Marquesas when we were comparing tattoos, and Steve’s birthday party in Papeete on Dignity when there were soo many people… a memorable night. He was a great guy. Best wishes to you and your family. Phil & Kristina ‘Songline”

  • Stan Wiklinski

    Memory of Steve.

    I’m sitting here listening to the crickets and road noise and a memory of Steve just popped in…

    Back in 2005 or 2006, he took a summer intern from our company and me on a sailing trip in some New Jersey waterway. I couldn’t tell you what the name of it was but I remember the adventure of it. We were on the water for a few hours, Steve directing us to move about the boat, work the sails and ropes, shift our weight, and keep a keen eye on the water. He had a GPS on board, and showed us where our journey had taken us. I remember being fascinated by that, I thought it was amazing that something like that was created. I haven’t sailed on since.

    I think of this from time to time, for it truly is one of those memories that sticks with you, you know the ones I mean. Steve was a great guy, I really enjoyed his company, he was great to talk to.

    And I always admired his story.

    Anyway, that’s the last memory I have of Steve, and what a wonderful memory it is.

  • Lucy

    I am so sorry about Steve….

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