Editor, Times-Union:
A month ago this week, Warsaw lost one of its most honorable and beloved citizens, Steve Devenney.
For many years Steve suffered from kidney and heart disease. He had a heart attack in the late ‘80s, bypass surgery, then kidney failure and dialysis. In 1992, a motorcycle accident claimed the life of Steve’s nephew, Matt Devenney. Matt’s almost perfect match provided Steve a kidney transplant. Twenty years went by, and sadly, this kidney failed as well. So now more dialysis. This time Steve’s body could take no more.
Steve was a fighter and didn’t want to give up. He fought until the very end. But the end came Friday, July 12, 2013. DeAnna and I visited Steve a few times in the last days of his life, and I was with him on his last day. It was very difficult for us to say good-bye to this friend of so many years.
We were about the same age, and although we first met in seventh grade, we quickly became close friends in 1966. It was then that Steve replaced me at Penguin Point on Detroit Street. I transferred to the old Point where Ruby Tuesday is now (and which later became the Center Street Penguin Point). Almost every night after work we either went to an all-night restaurant for coffee, or we just went to his house and “shot the breeze” until all hours of the night. (Barb was so tolerant). Being a single guy then gave me that kind of latitude.
In 1968, DeAnna and I got married, and Steve and Barb stood up with us. Through many years of good times, and hard times, our friendship continued to flourish. In 1973, Steve and Barb lost their son, Bobby, to cancer, and in 1991 DeAnna and I lost our son, Troy, in an auto accident. We loved his son, and Steve and Barb loved ours. Burying each other’s sons gave us a special bond that only those who have lost a child can explain.
Throughout our thousands of conversations the topics varied, our political views were similar and often discussed, but the most frequent topic was about our spiritual lives. Steve loved to talk about the Lord. Since I do as well, hours upon hours were well spent with open Bibles. Last year I was in intensive care in Fort Wayne for quite awhile, my life in the balance. Steve called to check on me almost daily, but one day he came to see me. A very difficult task for him as walking by then was very difficult. He stayed for about two hours. When he got up to leave, he came over to me, took my hand, and said, “We’re going to pray you out of here.” He prayed one of the most powerful prayers I have ever heard. It was amazing. I was so blessed. (I was released within a week.)
Steve loved Barb deeply, his kids, his friends, Penguin Point, Warsaw, his church and most important, his Lord. I’ll never have another friend like Steve Devenney. Warsaw lost a real “home town” treasure.
Mike Ragan
Warsaw, via e-mail