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Sports Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Losing a part of us

The Tyrone community, Tyrone sports environment, the world as a whole, his family, and I personally, have lost a dear person, who did so much for each of us. Steve Michaels passed away during the early morning hours on Wednesday. Most of us would probably call it Tuesday night, not that it matters.
Steve was a gentle person, a terrific photographer who gave away many of his pictures, or made it possible for those who really couldn’t afford to have photos of sons and daughters and loved ones, to get their keepsakes.
The measure of Steve Michaels was not just in his gift and generosity as a photographer, but that was the medium by which most of us knew him. Steve and his loving wife Mary, took many, many photos of the local sports events, weddings, teams, you can go on and on.
Hosts of Tyrone parents have benefited from the Michaels’ photos of their boys or girls in the many sports covered, how many couples count among their wedding remembrances, photos from Steve and Mary?
Steve fought the brave fight, never giving in, never stopping. When doctors diagnosed his time remaining on earth, Steve defied them and surprised them. He was always cheerful, never allowing himself, or those around him to feel sorry for the unlucky break he had received.
I personally have been the sports editor here at the Daily Herald for some six years, going on seven, time flies doesn’t it. Steve has blessed my job immensely, making my desk fit much better than it would have been without his photos, from the beginning of the football season, with the Meet the whoevers and photo days, through each sports season, one following the other. I do not stand alone, Steve has been a photographer for three Daily Herald sports editors, Len Slother, John Harlow and myself.
I have known Steve Michaels personally for many more years than I have been an editor, or even worked as a stringer. We go back to the 1970s when Steve, Fern Price, Jim Cushion, Gary Harper, Denny Moist, Tom Dawson and others bowled on the Crunch team, on Tuesday nights, at West End Lanes. Some of us bowled better than others, and Steve was one of the better bowlers on the team, but we never lacked for a good time, no matter what the scores. I remember many of the trips we took going to the annual spring Bowling State Tournaments, going east one year to Allentown or Reading, and west the next to Pittsburgh or other places. I looked forward to these trips, enjoying them as a sort of vacation, even, if only, for a weekend. We usually would take turns driving to the states and how we ever got to some of the places, is still amazing to me, but you get to know a person, when you spend hours in a car, and weekends together, in strange communities, when you have time before and after we actually threw the 16-pound ball down the alleys.
Steve and Fern and I along with others, also played softball at Ferner Field in the local Tri-County Slow-pitch League. Steve and I shared in that we were both left-handed batters.
I always hate to think about losing loved ones, let alone put my thoughts down in print. It is, in fact, a part of life, something all of us face every day. Most don’t think too much about it, until it is a loved one, or dear friend, or family member. Steve Michaels was a class person, a friend, a co-worker, and much more, and will be sorely missed by all of us here at the Daily Herald, but especially by myself. We have been friends for so long. Now, I hope we will meet again someday, perhaps on Heaven’s bowling team, or as part of the newspaper they publish up there.
Steve Michaels’ value to the Tyrone community can never be measured, over the years he continually gave. His goal, after being told, his days were numbered, was to be able to make just one more Tyrone/Bellwood-Antis football game. God granted that request.