He called me "Conner"...

He had nicknames for everybody and I can't think of a single soul who ever said a bad word about him. I first knew him as my friend Karen's pesky little brother. Oh the typical brother-sister tiffs they'd have on the phone when Karen and I worked together. The calls would end with Karen saying through gritted teeth,"Randy put Mom on right now!" Mom never usually made it to the phone!

He was a shaggy-haired happy-go-lucky teenager who grew into a loving husband, father, friend to so many, and... fellow journalist at CHCH-TV Hamilton. And what a journalist he grew to be. The kind who knows that that real news stories are often away from the spotlights and headlines where everyone else is looking...perhaps at a neighbourhood fruit market or inside an abandoned building in the gritty end of a downtown.

He could ask tough questions but always in a folksy way with dignity and respect. He made people talk to him in spite of themselves or mostly just because really wanted to.
He was a journalist driven by the search for truth but not at the expense of integrity, always uncovering the wonderful and often whimsical side of issues or just ordinary life itself.

Even when robbed of his voice, he re-channelled his incredible story telling skills through the written word and his stunningly insightful photographs capturing the wonder of simple everyday life .

I have one of his pieces in my home and I will think of him everyday I look at it. It's a single pink flower; its colour, shape and beauty preserved forever. In one of my last e-mails to him I sent him a photo I had taken of a trillium in the woods. In his typical cheeky response, he told me I had wiped out all the highlights and could use a few lessons.

Randy Steele died today and that photograph on my wall is just a little piece of the beauty and truth he leaves behind. Randy my friend, thank you for the best "lesson" I could ever learn, about living life with honour, humour, courage, and grace... no matter what. You are a great teacher.
I, along with so many, will never forget you.