A gentle soul, gone too soon

Steve Dinion, gone too soon!

Steve Dinion, gone too soon!

Before tonight’s rehearsal for the Bach Mass in B-Minor, the orchestra manager said there was going to be an important announcement. Violist Steve Flanter told us that percussionist Steve Dinion, had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma about two months ago and had started intensive chemotherapy. Yesterday, close friends were notified that Steve’s organs were shutting down, and this afternoon, this gentle soul passed away.

I couldn’t help but think of the last time I performed the Bach Mass in B Minor, which was three years ago at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, and of course, Steve Dinion played timpani. Here’s a picture of the performance.

Steve Dinion played timpani in our performance of the Bach B-Minor

You can see Steve Dinion in the back corner at our Bach Mass in B Minor performance (2011)

Steve, though, played dozens and dozens of concerts with us at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, as part of the Bach Chamber Orchestra. He always came over to say ‘hello’ to me in the gigs we did together, and was always so very nice to me. He will be sorely missed!

Here are some samples of what people are writing on his FaceBook page:

I never imagined that goodbye would come so soon. Stephen Dinion, you were such a great man. Your warm heart, your genuine compassion, and absolute care for your fellow man was unmatched by anyone. You’re with God now  and it isn’t really goodbye, but until we meet again. Take care and watch over us, Steve. (V.L.)

So very very sad to hear that Stephen Dinion has passed away. Steve taught some of my very best percussionists at Castle High School and was so very generous and kind with giving of his time and knowledge. Steve is a great soul, human being and musician and will be sorely missed. Love you, Steve. Thank you for you. Godspeed. (A.A)

What a huge loss to the music community! (K. T.)

Community organizer and musician extraordinaire.

Community organizer and musician extraordinaire.

Stephen Dinion. He was a kind, gentle, and fierce advocate for equality. On top of it all, he was among the most effective community organizers this town has seen in years. I am blessed to have worked so closely with Steve on so many campaigns, events and actions that others may not have realized how important Steve’s work has been to our community. He will be deeply missed by his extended family at Unite Here! Local 5 and the Aikea Movement (G.A.C.)

I will miss running into you at the Sure Shot Cafe. Standing next to you on picket lines. Thinking of clever sayings for picket signs. I will miss your insight and patience. Your strong will and heart for social justice. Most of all, I will miss your friendship. It was a rare gem. I pray that wherever your spirit shines, you are making sweet, beautiful music. One day, hopefully, I’ll hear it playing in the wind. Touching lives as you always did. (L. T)

Gone WAY TOO SOON. Not nearly enough time for all of the hugs, smiles, downbeats, cymbal crashes and timpani rolls required of this gentle and powerful human being. Sail on, you beautiful and courageous soul, and rest assured that you will NEVER be forgotten, Stephen Dinion. (L.W.)

Honolulu lost one of its most grounded, hard working and inspirational citizens, influential musician and visionary leader. Stephen Dinion was impressive on the stage behind his timpani, and transformative as a union leader, but his real secret was his willingness to work. And work. And work. Here Steve is working to refurbish the Musicians’ Union building so that it could be rented in order to save money and save the building for the union’s future. This was who Steve was; a can-do person who got it done. Even if he had to do it himself. Aloha Kakou, my friend. Rest in Peace. You inspired me in life, and continue to inspire me now. You are truly missed. (P.B.)

Steve Dinion plays the cool vibes.

Steve Dinion plays the cool vibes at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu (Easter 2011)

With former LCH parishioners Vicki Gorman and Mike Gorman, “Terra Nova.”

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
This entry was posted in Carl Crosier, J. S. Bach and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A gentle soul, gone too soon

  1. Tim Carney says:

    Thank you– a beautiful tribute, Kathy. We will all miss this gentle, kind, talented man. It is hard to imagine musical life in Hawaii without Steve. He played nearly every Masterworks concert we’ve done, from Brahms to Verdi, Cherubini, Vaughan Williams, Schumann, Haydn masses…you name it, Steve was there, and always played magnificently. And I enjoyed all the concerts he played at LCH, HSO, and HOT.

  2. Ray Catania says:

    I loved Steve as a friend and as labor and social justice advocate- he always had time for me and others from Kauai to talk story- we all learned so much from this sweet and gentle soul. I will never forget the time he helped to engineer two anti-war resolutions at the last AFL-CIO convention in Honolulu- he helped Kipu Kai and I set up Kauai’s Pride @ Work Chapter- he taught me how important LGBT issues are so important to the working class and treasured my support to this most significant cause. I will always miss you Braddah Steve Dinion- we love you.

  3. Tommy Yee says:

    Thank you Kathy for this wonderful tribute to Steve. He will be missed tremendously in our community as a musician, teacher, union advocate, and friend. The kindest gentlest soul I have ever met. It all happened so quickly, I regret not taking time out of my schedule to visit him in the hospital. I hope it’s ok to share your blog as it’s a beautiful page. Thank you!

  4. Keola Akana says:

    Am so sad about the passing of our dear friend Steve Dinion. Steve was a genuine great guy whom I have known for the past 15 – 20 years in different organizations we have belonged to. Steve is a fierce social justice advocate, a fabulous musician and a kind, generous, reliable and talented man that I am proud to know as a friend. I will miss you Steve. Am sure you are jamming with the angels. One day we will meet again.

  5. Ethan Wung says:

    Steve you will be greatly missed, although I did not know you for very long, I could tell instantly that you were special. The way you lived your life is something we all strive to follow, kind, hard working, and peaceful. You were always trying to find the good in everything. We love you and miss you.

  6. Cindy Kamps says:

    I am Steve’s cousin and have been in Hawaii with Steve’s mom for over a week. I just want you all to know how soothing your comments are to my Aunt. She knows how special Steve was, but to read the comments about how many lives he has touch brings her a kind of joy in this time of sorrow. Thank you for all your prayers, love, and support.

    • Dear Cindy, Please accept our deepest condolences and know how sad our community is to have lost Steve. It’s just so shocking, and we are still trying to deal with his not being here. Last night at the rehearsal of the Mass in B Minor with the Oahu Choral Society and the Hawaii Symphony, I felt a sharp twinge of sadness at the “Gratias agimus tibi” when the timpani enters triumphantly. I immediately thought of Steve playing it, looked over, and of course, someone else was playing. Please check my other post: “Joyful and Focused,” http://insanity.blogs.lchwelcome.org/2014/05/14/joyful-and-focused/ if you haven’t done so already.

  7. Gail Long says:

    Although I did not meet Steve until my mother passed away in 2008, I was immediately struck by his commitment to all that was right and his strength as a union leader. Ah Quon often talked about Steve and his comrades as the symphony struggled to survive. Although I am not a believer, perhaps Steve and Ah Quon are organizing somewhere together in this universe of ours. GL

  8. Connie Cordovilla says:

    Steve was a lovely person and my sincerest condolences go to his mom, Bernice. I know him through the Pride At Work National Executive Board. He was a good unionist and a solid person in additon to being nice. We are all diminished a bit in losing him to this world.

  9. Staci Fong says:

    Mr. Dinion was my son’s percussion teacher. We are incredibly saddened by his passing. He was incredibly kind and brought out the best in my son. He invited him to percussion events and encouraged my son’s love of music. We will be forever in debt to him as a teacher and a role model.

  10. Dawn toothman says:

    Steve is one of the. Most kindest talented gentlest souls we have had the pleasure to know. He was my sons percussion teacher Shayn really looked up to him& Is very sad by his passing . Steve seemed fine 3 months ago. Not to be uneloquent but we are just super bummed and shall miss him dearly. Shayn loved hearing Steve perform in Wicked. You are with God now Steve Fly And perform with Angels! Love Shayn and family.

    • Dawn toothman says:

      Mr. Dinion is one of the. Most kindest talented gentlest teachers we have had the pleasure to know. He was my sons percussion teacher Shayn really looked up to him Mr. Dinion helped many young percussionist to love and excel at music. He seemed fine 3 months ago. Not to be uneloquent but we are just super bummed and shall miss him dearly! Shayn loved hearing Mr. Dinion perform in Wicked. You are with God now Mr. Dinion Fly and perform with Angels! Love Shayn and family.

  11. Koa Luke says:

    Mahalo nui for writing this, sharing your wonderful memories of Steve, and pictures and videos. I just learned of Steve’s passing tonight I worked with him for years at AFSC and Hawai’i Peace and Justice. He was such a wonderful person with so much aloha. For lack of better way to describe myself I’m a Hawaiian Activist and I always felt support for myself and my causes from Steve. Sometimes during times of strive Steve had our back. I don’t know what to say I’m devastated right now. But Steve would want us to continue to organize!
    much aloha to you Steve you will always be in my memories!
    Aloha ‘oe!

  12. Bernice Dinion says:

    I am just seeing all of the above posts and the tears are flowing. Thank you everyone for such overwhelming thoughts of Steve! Still so very hard to believe. I love you all!!

  13. Aloha Katherine,
    We would like to include a photo and short mention of Stephen Dinion in the upcoming issue of the UH magazine. http://www.uhfoundation.org/uh-magazine
    Could we use a photo from your blog? Thank you, Margot

  14. Thank you! Do you have any of the ones you have on the blog? E.g. the first one captioned “Steve Dinion, gone too soon” or him smiling next to the copy “Gone to soon.” The one of him playing at the Lutheran Church is also good. He sounds like a very special person.
    All the best,
    Margot

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