The death of Steve Hancock will go unnoticed in Baton Rouge. You’ve never heard of him. I, myself, never met him.
Steve Hancock called me out of the blue one morning about two years ago while I was on the air. From his trailer in Cadiz, Kentucky, he was searching for classic rock radio stations to listen to on the internet, and he came across our Eagle 98.1 website. He told me he also chatted with three or four other DJs around the country.
Steve was a good ol’ country boy. Every other word out of his mouth was the f-word. But he’d call me every morning, and we’d talk about everything and we’d talk about nothing.
About six months ago, I didn’t hear from him for some time, and I began to get worried. I e-mailed one of his other DJs, a young lady in Philadelphia named Debbi Calton. She said she hadn’t heard from him either. I didn’t have Steve’s phone number, but I did have his home address, so I wrote him a short letter.
Son of a gun, if he didn’t call that very day. Unfortunately, it was not good news. He’d been in the hospital. And they found cancer.
Steve told me they gave him two choices: stay and get radiation and chemotherapy, or go home to hospice care. Steve chose to live with his sister.
But he continued to call me every morning, and we’d talk about everything and we’d talk about nothing. I could tell whether he was having a good day or a bad day.
Then one day in the middle of October, the calls stopped. After a week or so, I got worried again and e-mailed Debbi in Philadelphia. She was worried, too, and said she’d try to locate his sister, Vicky, for some information.
Very shortly after that, Debbi e-mailed me: “My heart just sunk all the way down to my toes. I googled Vicky’s name and up came a death notice for Steve. He passed last Thursday.”
Debbi and I commiserated with each other at the loss of our phone-friend, and we promised to stay in touch. We both visited the website of the funeral home and left our sympathies with Steve’s family.
Yes, the death of Steve Hancock will go unnoticed in Baton Rouge. Except by me.