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A Celebration of Steve’s Life

Dear family, friends, cruisers and blog readers.
Thank you so much for all your many messages and kind words to me. It has been quite overwhelming but a real comfort too. I have always know what an amazing man Steve was but to know that so many of you felt the same was wonderful.

Today Steve will be cremated. There will be no viewing, service or ceremony today as requested by him. We will just collect his ashes. Steve’s wish was to have a really good celebration of his life and a memorial party. I have penciled this in for 28th September 2013.

My wish is to hold the celebration in the new house which Steve was so looking forward to moving into. I will be completing and moving into the new house on 12th September. This will give me time to plan and arrange something special. With barely any furniture in the house I’m hoping there will be enough room for everyone. If anyone would like to send a short reminiscent, tribute, message or photos for the ceremony please email it to I would like to make some sort of display for the day.

Tomorrow I fly to America for our son Ben and Amy’s wedding which is this coming Saturday. After the sadness of this week I am looking forward to this very happy occasion. I am planning to take some of Steve’s ashes and scatter it in New York harbour. We learnt to sail there and Steve loved sailing past the wonderful NY cityscape and typical of him, dealing with all the challenges of sailing in such a busy harbour.

A week after the wedding, my son John is flying to Australia to visit with Ella and my granddaughter Bao. John plans to take some of Steve’s ashes too. He will have a small celebration there and scatter the ashes in the Brisbane bay area where Steve and I had our last sail on Dignity. Steve would love the fact that he’s still travelling around the world.

Not long ago, Steve renewed the subscription to this blog for another two years. Therefore this site will stay open for at least this time so that people can read Steve’s words and share in the adventure we had together.

After the celebration of Steve’s life, I will write one more blog. A tribute to my very very very much loved and wonderful husband.

13 comments to A Celebration of Steve’s Life

  • Karen croft

    Dear Helen my thoughts are with you and a day of celebration is so fitting for such a wonderful friend .

  • Elaine Alpern

    Dear Helen,

    Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your husband. I don’t know if you remember me, but I was Joyce Raynor’s secretary at SSDS for 13 years. I will always remember how helpful and patient you were in solving my computer problems. I know all too well what you are going through because I, too, lost my beloved husband six months ago. I wish you strength in the days ahead and mazeltov on the upcoming wedding.

    Elaine Alpern

  • mick sutton

    sadly i will be away in turkey on the 28th, but i would otherwise have been there to celebrate the life of an extraordinary man.
    although it is 18 years since i last saw you both, it is a testament to the pair of you that you remembered me, given all the people that you have met in that time, the places that you have been, and the wonders you have seen.
    perhaps steve was right when he told me that it wasnt true that for every new thing i learn i had to forget something!
    the blog always made me smile while you were travelling, and slightly jealous, if i am honest, that i would never do the things you were doing.
    i remember when steve first found out that he had cancer, and saw that, unlike most of us who would see it as “battle”, steve seemed to see it almost as just another problem to work out how to solve, like the bilge pumps not working, or the topsail ripping in a storm, or the thousand and one other things that cropped up on your journeys.
    i think that in this way, he could deal with it without collapsing into a jellied heap of self pity, as i would!
    bravo steve, for the life you lived, the lives you touched, and the lives you made better.
    we are all richer for having known you both, and i for one, thank you for taking time out of your life to be friends to me.
    all my love


  • Colin Barnes

    Best wishes to Ben and Amy for their wedding. May the day be filled with joy and laughter.
    Love Colin & Judy

  • lew randal and Tracey M.

    If I could sail around the world I would end up at yours, sharing Steves celebration with you and everyone that has fallen in love with the amazing couple that we knew as Steve and Helen! Sadly for Lew and I we are stuck here on the other side of the world working at the surgery. We were walking, actually cycling would be a better term, down memory lane last week. We remember so clearly the first time we set eyes on you both. Outside the old store on the Rail Trail. There you were with your cold drinks discussing the merits of a padded jelly seat for Helens poor tortured bottom! We stopped and said hi, arranged to have dinner that night and off we went. Lew remembers clearly that you both had jandals on. Actually Helen, those jandals have been in so many pictures, I bet they are still going strong! Dinner it was and what a fabulous evening it turned out to be. We ended up drinking Steves wine , illegally if i remember correctly, in the pubs guest
    lounge till well after mid-night. We knew then we had met ‘amazing’ and so it has been throughout our short but thoroughly enjoyable time together. I was fully expecting his death to be noted in the headline news, after all its not every day a hero dies and hero he was to both Lew and I. And so to you dear one, you who has the most amazing spirit and strength . You are a courageous woman Helen Southwood, brave and strong You have had a most extraordinary life with the wonderful Steve. Whatever comes next , you will do well, that I am sure of. Much love and admiration from both of us way over here in New Zealand. Enjoy the wedding, the next generation will take their place……..Amen ! Pls use at the celebration Helen, it just about covers how we feel about you both xxxxxxxx

  • Anonymous

    Our thoughts are with you. Glad you are able to be at the wedding. Elana and David

  • Marc D

    Dear Helen, just stumbled across your blog and want to offer you our deepest condolences. I went out hunting information on L420s and found your story and pray that you are being gentle with your loss. I am sure Steve is continuing his wonderful adventure of a life. And congratulations on the wedding of your son.


  • We were just sitting here in Melbourne watching a movie and I thought I’d check in to see if anything new was happening…we apparently missed the fact that Steve was fighting for his life again. When we last saw you two I thought for sure that the sailing was clear for him.

    We are without words in hearing Steve has passed.

    We will always have him in our memories of Beveridge Reef, Palmerston and diving in Nuie. The best of times no doubt!

    We will miss Steve’s smile and zest for life and friends.

    Ken & Lori

  • Greg

    Thanks Helen and a thanks to Steve also, I have enjoyed following your blog, It’s been inspirational. I hope to buy a catamaran spend a couple years with my wife in the Caribbean much like you and Steve started out on Dignity. The information Steve shared on boats, sailing and life in general will help many. Greg

  • Anonymous

    Dear Helen

    You are one amazing lady! What a roller coaster of emotions you must have been through this week. We do hope that your son’s wedding went well in spite of everything that has happened. We are full of admiration for the strength you have shown during Steve’s last battle. It seems a very fitting tribute to him to celebrate his amazing life in your new house. We have only known the two of you for a short time through sharing experiences of lymphoma but would like to be there if you think it’s appropriate. However, if you would prefer to put all thoughts and connections with this awful cancer behind you, we would quite understand. We still have the bottle of wine…….!Still thinking of you

    Kindest regards
    Pat & David

  • Jack Warren & Jan Holmes

    Dear Helen,
    We are thinking of you. So sorry to hear about Steve. We love you both.
    Jan & Jack

  • Michael Brown

    My deepest condolences for your loss. I’ve only met you through the blog and I can proudly say that I’m glad to have known you both. My best wishes for you and your family – fair winds and following seas and long may your big jib draw!

  • Hi Helen,

    What memories indeed, we hear the voice ‘Dignity Dignity’ coming through on the SSB. Yes a great life then and a life well lived. So sad he is gone … but the memory of the good times and his presence lives on with us.

    With fond memories and our very best wishes to you and the boys.

    Fergus and Kay of Pylades.

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