I hesitated to write this memorial of Steve Madden. Not because I did not want to write it, but because someone has already written a wonderful remembrance of a good friend and fine gentleman. owever, when we lose someone we know and have cared about, it is truly a personal experience. I came to the realization that I must remember Steve in my own way and in my own words. I hope I do his memory justice.
Steve was one of the first people I met in the legislative process when I started working in Tallahassee 18 years ago. Throughout his political work, his governmental service and his lobbying efforts, Steve remained a constant presence in the Capitol. He was truly a renaissance man as far as state government goes. He understood everything from the campaign/ legislative/ executive and lobbying sides. He used those skills well. He was one of the most beloved and respected members of the Tallahassee legislative family.
“Where is Steve Madden on this?” was a questions I heard many a time as I worked on various issues over the years. Steve was a go-to-guy when he was in government, and a respected voice of advocacy when on the outside. His opinion mattered. In Tallahassee that is something of great value.
More than an accomplished staffer or governmental consultant, Steve was a truly one of the good guys. I say this with great respect to all of my colleagues. Few who work in the process are not “good people.” However, Steve had a quality about him that lifted him above so many. His attention to detail and desire to make sure that everything he said and represented was accurate made him one of the most trustworthy people in Tallahassee. In a city where your word is your one true asset, he worked hard to protect its integrity.
As individuals he and I were only separated by a few years. Both parents of young children I felt a certain kinship to Steve that I know is shared by many of my legislative colleagues. More importantly, the joys and challenges of parenthood is something that transcends the legislative process. Steve understood that.
Steve always carried a ready smile and a hearty laugh with him wherever he went. He must have had an inexhaustible supply in his pocket. Even during those few times I saw him “down” he always mustered a smile at the end of the conversation and left with his usual determination to make things right. It was incredible being in his presence, really. He just lifted you up by his buoyancy and innate joy for life.
Steve is free from something that has had him bound for quite a long time. I have no doubt that he is now truly experiencing a peace that surpasses all understanding. I grieve for his wife Carrie and their children. Steve’s light may have gone out in the physical world but I have no doubt it shines brightly in the spiritual. May those of us who knew and cared for Steve be encouraged that his life will long be remembered through our memories and the hope that we will one day see his smiling face and feel his bear hug one more time.
If you have memories of Steve that you would like to share please feel free to post them. Together we can keep Steve’s memory alive.