Amy Rees Anderson

What Legacy Will You Leave Behind?

Four years ago, October 16th of 2010, I received a phone call telling me that one of my very best friends, Steve Gasser, had died suddenly while participating in a bike race down in St. George, Utah.  I was at Disneyland when I answered that call and I literally crumbled to the ground when I heard the words over the phone.  It couldn’t be! He was only 46 years old and in perfect health. In fact he had just recently gotten home from summiting Mt. Denali!  It wasn’t possible!  For me this was the first time I lost someone that was my age.  I had lost Grandparents but never a friend around my age.  I was devastated at the loss. My two children were also devastated at the loss because during my years as a single mom Steve had been the guy to come over each week and help my son with his scouting projects, and take him to football games, and who would snuggle with my little girl. He taught my kids to ride horses and go ATVing and he took them to the mountains and on hikes. He was also the guy who convinced me to take work off and go to Lake Powell with him in 2007 on a trip which ended up being the trip I met Rollin, who I ended up marrying.  Steve and Rollin became best friends too and Steve was even the witness at our wedding.  He was family to us.  He was our dearest friend.  I was not ready to lose him from my life.

As I sit here today typing this it brings back a flood of sadness at the fact I don’t get to call Steve anymore and hear his happy voice yelling “Hey Sugar!  WHAZZZZUP!!” I kept his phone number on my speed dial for a long time after he passed just so I could call it and hear his voice mail greeting…I know that probably sounds weird but it helped so much to just hear his voice.  I miss opening the front door and having him lift me off the ground to hug me (because he was so tall). I miss the joy he brought into the room, just by entering it. Now I realize most of you reading this didn’t know Steve, but I can tell you that Steve was the friend that everybody prayed to have in life.  He was the most unselfish, kind, happy, and loving person that you could ever meet and he was absolutely the most loyal friend.   Steve made everything happier and brighter when he was there.  And the loss of his presence is felt daily by all of us who loved him, and I can tell you that it is one long list of people (especially ladies, since Steve died as a single man with a slew of woman who all hoped to marry him one day, and who could blame them..it was Steve!!!).

The point of me sharing all this is twofold.  First it is admittedly selfish as I just wanted the world to know what an amazing guy my friend Steve was.  But second, and most important, I wanted to share with you the impact that one person had on the lives of so many as an example that all of us should strive to live up to with our own lives. All of us should strive to be the “Steve” in other people’s lives. To be that friend who is always there, and to be the person who never judges or makes people feel bad, but rather is the friend that encourages people and believes in people and genuinely hopes the best for people.  We should all be that positive force of joy that brightens up a room when we walk in.  Steve left a massive legacy of love behind when he passed and as far as I am concerned that should be the goal we all strive to achieve with our lives.  Yes, Steve was an incredibly successful business person who did very well for himself financially, and Steve was a great hunter and mountain climber and basketball player, but not one person remembers Steve for any of that.  They remember Steve for the way he loved everyone and the time he made for people and for the amazing friend he was. They remember Steve for his character and integrity and his charitable heart.

We spend a lot of our focus in life on trying to be successful in business, or trying to be the best at sports or mountain climbing or sailing or music, or whatever…but when our times comes to be taken from this world what people will remember is how we loved, and how we served others, and who we lifted up.  I hated losing my best friend. It was horrible. But I love the example that Steve set for me and I love the time I had with him and I love the legacy of love that he left behind.

I know the day will come when I too pass from this life and nothing will make me more at peace than knowing that Steve Gasser’s spirit will be there waiting to greet me on the other side with that huge smile saying “Hey sugar!  WHAZZZZUP!” and lifting me off the ground with a huge bear hug to tell me it will all be okay…

Go be the “Steve” in someone’s life.  Have an amazing day everyone!

steve and amy

My Forever Friend Steve

steve grave1

With love, Amy

9 Comments

  • Mark says:

    Thank you Amy for your heartfelt written description of a great person who left way too soon. We all should benefit and learn from his example.

  • Kent Gasser says:

    Amy, Thank you for that eloquent tribute. Your heartfelt sentiments have touched me to the core. He is my brother and yet I still miss my friend. I still have that phone number…….. much love to you and your beautiful family.

  • Mindy says:

    I couldn’t have said it better.Thanks so much for putting into words what do many people who loved Steve feel.

  • Susan Anderson says:

    I woke up thinking of Steve today and feeling the loss of him in my life and the life of my children. This sure brightened my day! Thank you Amy Lots of Love to you and your family. Susan

  • Brittany says:

    What a legacy your friend left behind to be remembered in such a way. It is evident he was the best kind of person. I don’t know if you like country music but when my aunt passed away suddenly and much too soon earlier this year I found this song “The Dash” by Scotty McCreery & in the chorus he sings:

    “It’s always too soon
    It’s always too fast
    There’ll never come a day
    That you don’t want ’em back
    It ain’t about the numbers
    Chiseled in concrete
    It’s how they lived their lives
    In the dash between”

    Sounds like your friend Steve made the most out of life.

    Thank you for sharing this post today.

  • Linda Hackett says:

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful tribute Amy. I keep Steve’s picture where I can see it every day to remind me to be a better person. What a blessing he has always been in the lives of our family and thanks for being such a great friend to him. He sure did love your family!!!

  • Freda Gasser says:

    Steven was my youngest son and I’m still hearing about the good he did during his short stay on this earth. I also keep one of his messages on my phone as his voice always cheers my soul. He truly was a blessing to our family. Thank you for remembering him Amy.
    Love from his MOM.

  • Cheri Farnsworth says:

    I love this, Amy. I loved Steve and miss him dearly. The call from you that day is still fresh in my mind and heart. Your tribute captured him perfectly, of course. I too have his number still in my phone and haven’t erased the messages after all these years (sounds like a lot of us still do by reading the comments!). I listen to them less, but it’s comforting to know they are there and when I run across his name I always smile and laugh a little. Good times. I feel it to be a great honor to call him my friend.

  • Spencer Hackett says:

    I miss him and his unbelievably big smile. I cant wait to see him again. Thank you for sharing this

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