Memories of a Life Lived on the Sea

Steve Honan passed away suddenly on March 31, 2020, leaving behind many memories that will be relived for years to come. The lifelong resident of Winthrop left his mark on the town much in the same way he lived his life…with gusto. Described as a gregarious, outspoken jokester who lived for the ocean, Steve will continue to take up space in the hearts of those who shared memories with him.

Resident and childhood friend, Frank Costantino remembers Steve in his earlier years when the two attended Saint John’s Elementary School together.

The late Steve Honan (far right) is shown with James Ezekiel, Matt and Kevin Honan.

“Steve left us suddenly, quietly, but too soon. Despite these hazardous times, we’ve all suffered from the news, as it leaves a huge gap in the Honan-humor force field.”

Costantino reflected on Steve’s prankster personality, sharing that the jovial man once convinced him that the Honan family was responsible for the breakers on Shore Drive, the five rocks representing their five letter name H-O-N-A-N.

Steve’s wisecracks were balanced by his big, generous heart, that was responsible for a long list of volunteer work.

“He was always willing to volunteer, and loved to keep busy,” remembers Costantino.

Alongside his wife Pixie, Steve was a fixture at events associated with the Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association (WIHA) and the Cottage Park Yacht Club (CPYC). Those that knew Steve well, credit his smile for bringing joy to their lives. As a long-time board member of WIHA, Steve seldom let the board get through a meeting without dispensing a few jokes that always resulted in laughter.

To James Ezekiel, Steve was a father-figure, and that relationship evolved further when Ezekiel had his own son.

“When my son Jasper was born, Steve turned to his wife Pixie and told her that he was ready to be a grandfather, and from that moment on they did everything together. Although Stevie may not have been his blood grandad, I really can’t imagine anyone being better at it than him.”

Like many longtime Winthrop residents, Steve kept his grade-school friends throughout life, often blending those friendships with the new ones that he made along the way. Sailing was a passion of Steve’s and his love of the water was evident in the memories that his fellow sailors have of him.

Friend, Lou Gaurino, remembers sailing with him on the family boat while listening to stories from long ago.

“He always told stories about sailing as a young kid,” said Guarino. “He would terrorize the Winthrop Yacht Club with his mast assault on their third floor bar when the tide was high enough to navigate the area.”

From long ago friends to immediate family members, Steve’s life was bookmarked with sailing stories.

“Growing up with my dad meant lots of time on the ocean,” said Matthew Honan. “He was a great sailor and truly loved being on the water. We were always on the water and we spent many days sailing all around the harbor islands, exploring the old forts, ruins and battlements.”

Matthew has a vivid memory of sailing to Little Calf Island with his parents and brother, Kevin. Unbeknownst to the brothers, their parents used the trip to teach them about the “Birds and the Bees,” while camping in the foundation of an old mansion.

When Matthew thinks of his father, stories about life on the sea are what come to mind. From discovering remnants of the military fort on the many islands they sailed to as a family, to the regular sayings that echoed from his father’s lips, Matthew will always see his dad in the reflection of the ocean water.

“On the way home to Winthrop, depending on the tide, my father might yell, ‘get your feet up out of the water’ as we passed Deer Island Light. The Deer Island Sewerage treatment plant used a tidal drainage, which meant that they held the sewage from Boston for the day and would let it all go at the outgoing tide. Giant plumes of brown, treated muck would bubble up during these times, which was always amusing to young boys.”

Resident and friend, Joe Wallace, will never forget when he went sailing with Honan for the first time. As most 12-year-old boys would do, Wallace asked where they were going. With a stoic look on his face, Steve responded…

“We’re there.”

May the road rise

up to meet you. 

May the wind be always at your back. 

May the sun shine warm upon your face; 

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, 

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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