Thank you to all who came to and those who sent their wishes to Steve Rossi’s memorial service on June 27th, 2014. Steve would have been touched to see how our community came together to honor his legacy.
Steve’s vigil opened with his friend and brother-in-law Bob O’Brien warming up the crowd. He shared some sweet memories of Steve’s tenacity to get himself discovered in show business.
The formal service when silence fell upon the chapel started with Steve’s grand daughter Gabriella singing the first verse of the Nat King Cole song: Smile.
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
This song was a remembrance of how it was Nat King Cole who had believed in the comedy chemistry of Allen and Rossi. He paid them $5000 to put together the act. Steve for the rest of his life acknowledged the debt of gratitude he had for Nat King Cole for making Allen & Rossi the big act they had become.
Steve’s daughter Gina Rembert delivered a beautiful speech about sharing her father with the world. She loved him dearly. She also read a letter from her brother Dean. This was followed by Steve’s stepdaughter Tiffany Stevens who spoke about the special love Steve has for his wife Karma.
The service continued with remembrances from Steve’s friends. Marty Allen gave a deeply touching speech about his love for Steve over their many years together. Pia Zadora sang “I’m gonna miss you” as a send off to Steve.
Rich Little did what he does best and got us to laugh while honoring how Steve’s talents had contributed to his act, “When I found out I had to do this speech the first thing I wanted to do was call Steve and ask if he had any ideas on how to make it more funny. Then I realized I don’t know his area code.” Dennis McAllister spoke of his friendship with Steve and traveling together. Frankie Scinta shared his love of Steve. The vigil closed with Clint Holmes singing Steve’s hit “More” as we all stood for one last standing ovation as Steve’s casket left the vigil to be blessed by his priest.
Steve had desired a traditional mass which continued after the vigil presentation. He received full rites in the church. His priest Father Ron spoke about how he had come to know Steve over the last several years. He said that Steve loved bright colors and would have been at home at the Electric Daisy Carnival which gave us all a good laugh. Most importantly he spoke of Steve as the deeply spiritual man who cared tremendously for others.
At the graveside Steve received full military honors presented by the Air Force honor guard. Steve was tremendously proud of his military service and had been the American Legion’s Veteran of the year in 1966. The presentation of his flag to his widow was tremendously touching.
Father Ron blessed Steve one last time at the graveside. We were tremendously grateful for the care he had shown to Steve throughout this journey.
Steve’s family would like to thank the following people and organizations for their assistance with Steve’s Memorial Service:
Father Ron – Thank you Father Ron with St Christopher Church of North Las Vegas for coming to do Steve’s service. Father Ron got to know Steve many years ago when he was the priest at St. Joseph. The two went out to lunch many times and when it came time for Steve to prepare his living will it was Father Ron whom discussed the many details and how they aligned with their deep faith. It was touching that Father Ron mentioned during the mass the many times they had challenging spiritual discussions and how Steve invited him to lunch after he received blessing in the hospital. We know today Steve was speaking of another table they will one day be at together. Father Ron attended to every one of Steve’s spiritual needs which has left us with a sense of tremendous peace and gratitude for his service.
Christine Kramar – Steve’s personal assistant whom worked for him the last 4 years of his life. The last 2 years of his life she worked with Steve to prepare for this time and was instructed how to carry out his final wishes. She ran back and forth the last week ensuring every final detail was attended to during this time of need. She managed Steve’s website, social media, press contacts, marketing, business matters, script writing, editing, and most of all helping Steve at events. His service was their last gig together. A good assistant for the most part remains invisible to let the star shine which is a talent for which Christine excelled.
St Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic Church – We want to thank the parishioners, staff, and clergy of the church of Steve’s spiritual home. Ushers came in to volunteer for his service and assist with communion. The music at his mass was beautiful. Greg Sinclair the funeral director was tremendously helpful in navigating the necessary balance in Steve’s service to remain observant to his final wishes in respect to the church while celebrating his colorful life. Greg was a comfort to Steve’s widow as we prepared for his final liturgy singing to us passages and contemplating their spiritual meaning.
Kraft Sussman Funeral Home – This family owned business was extremely courteous to Steve both before his death when he was concerned about planning in advance on a tight budget. They were there for his family when his health took a turn for the worst. We would like to personally thank Laura Sussman for helping us to find the lovely hospice facility which helped us care for Steve in his final days. Every detail was attended to in order to ensure dignity and respect for both Steve and his family. At the time we called on them that he had passed the driver was tremendously kind giving us one last moment before he left to hold hands and say a prayer over his body. We never once felt rushed through this experience a gift we shall always appreciate. At the service staff anticipated our every need; yet empowered his widow to make choices she wanted to respect his memory. We never would have made it through this difficult time without them.
Infinity Hospice – We want to thank Sharon Tolen-Lund for the personalized attention she paid to Steve when he needed it most. Sharon came to Steve’s bedside in the hospital and explained what their facility offers to Steve and his family. Steve had asked in advance for hospice care, and his daughter Gina is a hospice nurse, but to have someone come and show us what to expect was an extra reassurance important to us at that time. She transported Steve within 20 minutes to get him out of the loud hospital environment he wanted to escape. The facility itself is beautiful, peaceful, and had the quiet Steve wanted. There was space in his room to visit, and even a bed to sleep there overnight with him. Care provided was both for Steve and his loved ones struggling with this difficult time. When he passed the staff were tremendously respectful and supportive. After struggling through hospital care and a short term nursing facility Infinity was a beautiful clean, attentive, place of solitude for his final days.
Palm Mortuary Eastern – Thank you to the staff at Palm Mortuary for working with our funeral home to provide a dignified graveside service. It was further appreciated the time taken with us to ensure Steve’s final resting place is one he would have enjoyed to have some shade trees and a bench nearby.