Steve was a hard-core model rocketry enthusiast, and spent countless days out in the Mojave Desert and elsewhere launching his own rockets as well as sharing his knowledge of model rocketry with others. He especially loved to see young people get excited about the sport—mentoring the next generation of model rocketry enthusiasts.
Back in 2007, we met Steve at Lucerne Lake so he could teach my son Andrew how to launch his first “big” rocket. They got it all set up, and Steve was about to walk Andrew out across the dry lake bed to the launch area.
Then Steve said “wait a minute.”
He reached into his box of rocket supplies and pulled out a huge container of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. He then removed the nose cone of Andrew’s rocket, shot a huge blast of baby powder into the tube on top of the parachute, and then replaced the nose cone.
“Watch this!” he said, with all the excitement of a young kid launching his first rocket.
Andrew’s rocket launched perfectly, and when the ejection charge went off about 1,000 feet above the lake bed and blew out the parachute, there was this huge “puff” of white smoke up in the sky—the baby powder ejecting.
Steve explained, with his ever-present smile, that he liked to do this with all of his rockets, purely for dramatic effect.
They say that Steve’s last wishes were to be cremated, and that he wanted his ashes to be ejected out of a model rocket high over Lucerne Lake.
This time, the big puff in the sky isn’t going to be baby powder—it’s going to be Steve.
In the place where he spent so much time, doing what he loved.
Now able to enjoy it in solitude, for all eternity.
And with a little puff of smoke at the end, purely for dramatic effect.
Rest in peace, my friend.