Dear Nanci,
With the possible exception of Bill, I think my claim to fame as Woody's "Best Friend" is that I knew him longer than anyone else.  I first met Steve in Denver Colorado in 1969 when he was a regional office manager for U-Haul.  I stopped to visit him when Sue and I were moving to Phoenix from Minnesota.  I'll never forget how badly he wanted out of there.  He couldn't believe the idiot he was working for--the guy drooled out the side of his mouth.

My second claim to fame is that I think I am the only guy that ever had a fight with Steve because Steve didn't want to go on the river.  I really can't remember when that argument occurred, but it was in Norton's El Mirasol.  Norton wanted to go in inflatable Kayaks from Diamond Creek to Lake Mead. I actually wanted to go, but Steve didn't because we weren't certain if Norton knew what the hell he was talking about and Steve hadn't yet done his research on it.

Although we didn't spend as much time together in recent years, Steve was always my best friend, as well as the person I admired most. Steve was always interested in my family--how the boys were doing, how Sue was doing, what was new in my life. He was the guy to confide in because I knew he would give me his opinion and they were usually good opinions.

The most incredible thing about Steve was his generosity with his time, ideas and feelings. It never mattered how long it had been since we had seen each other, we could always start in "right where we left off."  I can't begin to explain all of the world' problems we solved in Harvey's but I can tell you he often talked of his love for you and how lucky he felt to have you as his wife. He was so proud of Sarah.  The two of you had a "wonderful" relationship.

Steve was intelligent and the most complex individual I have ever known. Just look at the diversity of his other "Best Friends".  There are rich people, poor people, intelligent people, dumb people, good-looking, and not so good looking people, etc.  People from all walks of life.  And they all think of him as their best friend.  And be always was their best friend.  He was the guy I (we) could always count on if it was important. He was truly "A Man for All Seasons" (people).

He was always interesting and fun to be around.  He always generated energy around him.  I'll never forget carrying a 2QQ pound cactus into Harveys, or urinating off the ledge on the 10th floor of the U-Haul building, or Steve riding through the rapids on an air mattress on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, or all the times we stayed at Harveys til closing.

I am so glad I got to spend two days with him when we went to San Diego to move Hank and Anna. Our conversation never stopped; my throat was sore from talking so much. It was one of the best times of my life because we got to spend so much time together. Little did we know that would be the last time I would spend significant time with him.

This letter probably sounds really stupid and I am certain that if Woody read it he would give me a lot of grief, but I just wanted you to know how much his friendship meant to me.  Most of the time when I have seen you over the last few days I have been too choked up to talk.  And as you blow I am not very eloquent anyway.

He was an incredible guy and he too was my best friend.  He will ALWAYS be missed by me.


Paul Maland