Like My Uncle Ed

Like My Uncle Ed
Steve Crews, a beloved JourneyCare volunteer, lifelong writer and communicator.

JourneyCare volunteer Steve Crews was a lifelong writer and communicator. He worked as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune, deputy press secretary with former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne, an executive with two international public relations firms, and head of communications with Hallmark Cards and later, with Alberto Culver Corp. He was an Army vet, married and the father of two.

Steve was a much beloved JourneyCare volunteer who was always willing to do anything we asked of him. He was a patient care volunteer, a reception volunteer at two different desks on two different days, sat on our Veterans’ Advisory Council, helped at community health fairs and wrote numerous posts for our JourneyCare blog.

Steve died in November in our care, with friends and family nearby.

Below is the last piece Steve wrote for us, which his family is allowing us to share in his honor. 

He is greatly missed.

Like My Uncle Ed

When I die, I want to go like my uncle Ed, a quiet guy with a blue-collar job at a local newspaper and a love of fresh water fishing. He was a man who never got excited. Pleased? Impatient? Sure. He was not without emotion. But excited? Not that I ever saw. Still, sitting in his chair, sipping an Edelweiss beer and reading the paper, he was always in control. If a problem arose, he was the one who solved it.

Ed demonstrated those same traits in dealing with his spinal cancer, which in his case developed slowly, but with a lot of pain. The closest I heard him come to complaining was when I asked him one of those questions you wish the minute the words leave your mouth you hadn’t asked.

“How you doin’, Ed?"

“Well,” he said. “I guess I’m in trouble.”

There was no self-pity in his voice. No great fear that I could discern. He was in trouble. That’s a fact. And there was nothing more to say.

It was only three weeks before he died, paralyzed in a hospital bed at home, that he asked his wife, my aunt Helen, to invite friends over for a party. The following Saturday, Ed’s bed was moved into the living room and the guests arrived. God knows how many, because they spilled into every room of that small house and out into the yard.

Many were newspaper types, like Ed. Beer drinkers like Ed. Highball drinkers like Helen. There was music. Mountains of food. And there in the midst of the tumult lay Ed, smiling wider than I had ever seen.

When it was over, Ed’s bed was moved back to the bedroom and he set about the task of dying on his own. No more visitors. With the exception of his friends’ and family’s memories of a raucous good time, Ed was gone.


Read more about Steve Crews from the Chicago Tribune.

Comments (3)

  • Bill Mullen

    14 January 2017 at 20:10 | #

    Holy smokes! As a guy who was at the Tribune when Steve arrived there in 1968, and as a guy who thought he knew him and his life ever since, he continues to surprise me with parts of his life he never talked about, at least with me. This is the first that I had heard that he had "family" in the news business, perhaps the exemplar who inspired Steve to become the reporter and writer that he became. Uncle Ed must have been very special to Steve, as it seems to me he was also the exemplar of Steve's brave, dignified departure.


    • JourneyCare

      16 January 2017 at 20:38 | #

      Bill, we agree, and thank you so much for sharing this about your coworker and long-time friend.


  • Gary Schaller

    19 January 2017 at 13:04 | #

    I can see the joy on Steve's face as he told that story.
    Thank you for sharing.


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