Love Is the Greatest GiftDec 01, 2022 09:00AM ● By Lilace Mellin Guignard
In our October issue we ran the story “A Tribute to Steve Worthington,” which sparked a lot of feedback from readers. First, we’d like to correct the record, with our apologies for a few important mistakes. Jennifer Worthington is not Steve’s first wife but his second. His first wife is Michele Gatewood of Wellsboro, who helped Steve build their first house, to which he and Jenn later added a second floor. Steve’s on-air persona at WNBT was Sergeant Steve Schaffer.
The piece begins, “This is a story about Steve Worthington and the community he joined in 2006, a community theater company called Hamilton-Gibson Productions,” an organization that has collected more than $50,000 in the memorial tech fund set up in Steve’s honor. Readers thanked us for celebrating his life and contributions. But those closest to Steve, family members and friends who knew most deeply the richness of his life and the tragedy of his death, had a different reaction.
They yearned for a more complete story, and it was a good point. A story of 950 words can never condense the sum of an entire life. We at Mountain Home know the Worthingtons intimately—the late Tucker Worthington was the founding art director of this magazine, and his grandchildren, Steve’s children, delivered the magazine dressed as Victorian street urchins at Dickens of a Christmas. Steve dropped in our offices now and then to say hello.
Allison Spang, who grew up next door to Steve, remembers: “Steve helped raise me and is a good part of who I am as a person today. He took me swimming, and made me breakfast, and helped me paint my toenails. He built epic blanket forts and made some of the best coffee I have ever drank. He came to my sporting events and helped coach my brothers’ wrestling team. He loved nature, and art, and lived for his music. When I think of Steve....I think of a man who loved life and spread that into everyone that he knew.”
As Michele put it, “Steve loved big, hurt big, and gave big. He did everything big.”
That big spirit and Steve’s contributions live on. The love HG actors and directors and sound and lights techs had for Steve Worthington was only one part of his life but love him they did. You can see it for yourself when you attend HG’s wildly popular performance of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol December 3 and 4 in the Warehouse Theatre. Phase One of the new tech systems funded by Steve’s Memorial Fund debuted at HG’s performances of Grand Horizons in October. (You can still donate to the fund by calling (570) 724-2079 or visiting hamiltongibson.org). Call also for tickets to A Christmas Carol, which go fast. The stage lights that shine on Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim are there because of Steve Worthington and the love he still inspires.