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Remembering Steve Tolve
"He Was a Great Guy"
By Ron Weber, Editor
When speaking with a friend by phone recently, reminiscing about the life and recent death of Steve Tolve, he made the statement that Steve "was a great guy". People throw around these types of phrases so often that they have generally lost their meaning. After some thought however, it truly seems in this case that the phrase was entirely appropriate.
When you first met Steve, you saw a big imposing figure with wild, curly hair. He looked big and scruffy and when he first spoke, "North Jersey Italian" came blaring out. Steve and his family hailed from Lyndhurst, in the shadow of the Meadowlands Sports Complex and the heart of Sopranos country.
Steve, along with his brothers Johnny and Vinny, operated Tolve Presentations. For many years, they played churches and events in New Jersey and eventually, they ventured south both alone and with other shows. In time, they picked up a Florida route of Catholic churches and festivals.
Steve worked hard, keeping his company moving year round. Tolve was a smaller operation so Steve had to play the role of office secretary, truck driver, ride foreman and food operator whenever needed. He did it with great humor and without complaint.
Steve was just a fun guy to be around. He was always quick with a story, a crack or humorous observation. Typical of Steve and his humility, he was oftentimes the object of his own jokes.
When Duke Trombetti and I would play our southern route with World Wide Entertainment Group, Steve would usually join us for several of our fairs. We looked forward to Steve,s arrival as one of the highlights of our season. We gained a friend, dinner companion and all around guy who would help whenever needed.
When you encountered troubles, or were down about something in the business, Steve was definitely the guy to cheer you up. Whatever your problem was, in his twisted way, Steve would tell you about a situation he had encountered that was ten times worse. By story's end, he was always able to work his way out these jams so you had nothing to worry about with your (by comparison) insignificant problems!
Steve was one of the few people in the outdoor amusement business who was almost universally liked. No matter who you talked to, ride operator, carnival owner, fair committee or industry supplier, the mention of Steve,s name brought a smile to their face.
Though he never showed it or complained, Steve suffered for many years with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The disease sapped his energy and made it difficult to work, especially in the carnival business. Throughout, Steve labored through, rarely accepting help and never feeling sorry for himself.
About 18 months ago, Steve was hit again with a terrible diagnosis, he had leukemia. Throughout the last year and a half, Steve was in and out of the hospital, checking in with friends and family and always keeping his sense of humor.
On Sept. 12th Steve passed away at the age of 49. Many in the industry lost a good friend and companion. May he rest in peace.