Remembering Wingnut


Photo by Lydia Kierski

We lost Steve Engler on this day in 2019. This photo was taken during one of our Murmursian meetups in Athens sometime in the 00’s.

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:cry:

I’m sorry to hear that.

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So sad. Rest in peace, Steve.

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Cripes, it’s hard to believe that it’s already three years ago. Steve was one of these people who Murmurs was all about for me - deeply decent, passionate and knowledgeable about music, and absolutely fucking hilarious. He was one of the few and far between members whose posts I actively sought out beyond my usual hunting grounds because I knew they’d definitely be worth reading. Rest in power, Steve!

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I met Steve (Wingnut) in person at the 2003 R.E.M. show here in Atlanta, and subsequently enjoyed interacting with him on social media. He was good people all around.

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When I was in Anaheim many years ago for a conference he picked me and took me to Hollywood so I could get a vegan Big Mac. We went to Amoeba Records. Saw parts of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off being shown outside (we watched from an alley). He asked me if I wanted a tourists tour of Hollywood (fuck yeah!) and we went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I have pics of our feet as we walked around, tried to find the oldest star hand/foot prints (we decided Mary Pickford).

He was a good egg. I think about him often.

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Google Photos

I took this right before I found out…

I was gonna send it to him.

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I never met Steve in person, but I was always happy to talk to him online and he was one of the realest dudes around.

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I loved Steve. He was one of the best people I’ve ever met. I really regret not having kept in touch with most of our merry band post-Murmurs, but it breaks my heart that we’ll never see Steve again. He came to Albuquerque with a group of Murmursians in 2004 to see an R.E.M. show the band had added to the end of that tour, and everyone stayed at our house. Kelly’s finding a picture or two, and he’ll post that in a bit. Steve was so thoughtful and so empathetic at the same time as being incredibly fun to be around. The world is a better place for him having been in it.

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I was so sad when I heard about Steve. It’s still hard for me to believe. Here’s probably my favorite picture of him at our house after the Albuquerque show, Thanksgiving weekend 2004:

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Steve was so generous with his time, his energy and love for all things REM, fans and honestly, just people. He lived in Pasadena, and right around the time Amy and I first met we’d see him at every REM adjacent show (Wilco, Grant Lee Phillips) and REM show of course. He even came up to my senior show in Santa Barbara

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When I was still in Mississippi, I was headhunted for a job at Fresno State. It was a dept head job and not something I wanted (ironic since I’m now dept chair), but I was still curious about the city. I asked Steve. He hooked me up with a colleague who was from there but lived in Pasadena. I was able to talk to his colleague who went from, “hell, no, I wouldn’t move there,” to “y’know, I’d consider it…” I never talked to Fresno State (they were supposed to call me, there were technical issues, and I didn’t care enough to follow up), but this is another example of him sharing his time.

I’ve said this in other places, when my dad died in 2006, Steve was a rock to me. He’d check in on me. He’d call me. I’d call him. He was simply there when you needed him.

He was simply the best.

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Never got to meet Steve in person, but new him through Murmurs and Facebook.
Still get memories coming up of some of the bad jokes I used to post that he liked!
Donated to a suggested charity in his name, and they contacted me as they were getting donations from outside the USA, in his name, and were grateful but curious.

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He literally saved my life. It breaks my heart. I was going to paint a picture for him. Is there anyone I can send the previous shown photograph to, who can put it someplace in memorium?

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Chatted on Murmurs with steve and had the joy of meeting him at Hammersmith gigs in London, freezing day queueing, he lent me his coat! Chatted to him online right up to a few weeks before he died, so gracious in his illness and fate, heartbreaking. Huge loss for him, his family and friends xxxxx

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