Cherry: 'Biggy' tended our office, lifted our spirits
It wasn't until after Steve died last week that I learned so much about the man who kept our offices tidy and brought a cheerful outlook to sometimes long days.
In fact, I didn't know Steve's last name until reading his obituary.
Steven Bilsky. He was 60 and would've turned 61 next month.
He was a member of Sacred Heart Church in Chester, W.Va.; was a Mason, Shriner and member of Knights of Columbus, his obituary read. Those who knew him well apparently called him “Biggy.”
I knew none of that about Steve. To me and to our Sewickley Herald staff, he was a friendly guy, with a grandfather-like persona — reminded me a lot of how I imagined Fred Rogers to be in person.
What I did know about Steve was how proud of his kids he was, that he enjoyed following football and baseball teams of South Side High School in Beaver County, and — in the truest sense of the word — I knew he was a very kind gentleman.
And over the last year or two I learned he wasn't a fan of the Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge closure because it caused delays across the Sewickley Bridge, which he used often. He was glad when that bridge finally re-opened.
He kept clean and functioning the building the Herald calls home, and did handy work for many others in the area, he had said.
Steve's nickname seems fitting for a man who had such a big heart to practically perfect strangers. When we moved into the building in 2011, I mentioned I had considered getting a desk lamp.
The next day, one showed up already plugged in.
But several weeks back, we received word he had been in the hospital. On the day he was discharged, he stopped in to — of all things — empty our trash cans, having felt guilty for them overflowing. I told him not to worry, that we could empty them. But he was insistent that he do it.
He stopped making regular afternoon/early evening visits. The last time I saw Steve was late one evening a few weeks ago.
We chatted for a bit and said goodbye.
Steve made a positive impact on many more people than those of us at the Herald, and I get the feeling he wanted it kept that way.
Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-324-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.