For my brother
I am here today to pay my respects to my brother Steve Neumayer. Many people who knew us both have remarked on our differences, and there were some big ones. Steve was an extrovert and I am an introvert. Steve was an athlete and I am a nerd. Steve was funny and I… am funnier.
I wasn’t sure if I should start off joking like that, but I felt I had to. Steve was a funny guy, if you knew him for more than five minutes you knew that. We joked together all the time and if I’m going to talk about him I have to mention his great sense of humor.
I don’t really know what he would want me to say today. We didn’t talk about death. Steve was all about life and living as much of it as possible. My brother did not have a neutral gear, he never coasted along. I remember back in the fourth or fifth grade when he was playing Pop Warner football. He would drive and push himself so hard, to the point that at the end of the games he would be too tired to climb into the car and my parents would lower the tailgate of our station wagon so he could kind of roll himself in there.
On the football field Steve played offense and defense because he did not believe in sitting on the bench. He wanted to be in the game. A couple of knee injures slowed him down to where he was only playing defense but my brother still hated being on the bench. He hated it so much that he once got up from the bench and tackled someone from the other team who was running down the sideline.
He was proud of his football days. He had some game films from Bishop Verot High School that he kept all these long years. I’m not sure if the high school knows he had those films for all that time, but I figure we can tell them now.
His nickname on the high school team was Captain Crunch, not because he was fond of the sugary cereal but because of the way he made devastating tackles. And if that is not an analogy for my brother’s life I don’t know what is. Steve tackled life head-on.
I envied that attitude my brother had because I was the cerebral one. I would ponder and think about things much more often than I would do them. I think a perfect example of that contrast is once when Steve visited me in Tampa. We went out for dinner. The hostess at the restaurant told us it would be about 30 minutes and gave us one of those pagers they had so we would know when our table was ready. We go outside of the place and Steve notices another restaurant across the street that serves sushi. “Do you like sushi?” he asks. I tell him that I’ve never tried it. “Let’s go get some.” he says. I mention something about bringing the pager back to the restaurant and Steve says “No, we’ll do both.” I was kind of shocked for a minute. I would never have thought of something like that. But that’s what we did. We went and had some sushi. When the pager went off we paid the bill and went back to the first place for dinner. Steve was like that. He was not a or b, he was all of the above.
He was my brother, my friend, my support, my competition, and the source of more than one of my gray hairs. We fought sometimes – all brothers do, but underneath it all we loved and cared for each other. Even now, those lesser memories are fading away. It is the good memories, the ones of shared laughs and fun times that I will call to mind again and again. Each time I recall them they will be polished a little more until they shine like the treasured gems that they are.
Shakespeare wrote “death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” It came too soon for Steve. He was a good man, he was a good brother, and he will be missed.