This was the culmination of our family’s rushed less than a week preparation to honor my husband, Steve. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him. As I walked along the aisle during the entrance procession, I steeled myself in looking straight ahead or else I might have broken down and cried.
Georgette Manio, Steve’s FBI colleague was generous with her time and voice to be the cantor for the Mass. Our dear friend, Jaime who worked w/ Steve when they were at the Southwest Division in LAPD made it possible to include the bagpipes and the Honor Guard Ceremony. I’m also grateful for Sgt. Dan Putz and Chief Charlie Beck in making that happen. It was fitting to the qualities I saw in Steve: simple, responsible, honest, honorable, loyal, humble, gracious, gentle and kind.
A lot of people came: Steve’s past and present colleagues from the LAPD and FBI. Some people from the BPD. Our family and friends from out of states, my past and present colleagues from work, my neighbors, my mommy-friends, the bereavement groups from St. Lorenzo & St. Francis Xavier, friends that I lost touch with and now we’d reconnected. Steve’s true friends that you can count in one hand. That was enough for him. That’s the kind of person he was. I’m grateful for their presence.
Rev. Frank Hicks and Rev. Benny George did a Concelebration Mass and Rev. Hicks went to the Mission Hills Catholic Mortuary for the burial rites.
My cousin, Justine did the Eulogy:
Rest In Peace Stephen Ryan Ivens
“Have you ever met someone so good and so pure of heart that it makes you want to be a good person as well? That is exactly what Steve was for my entire family and me. When Steve was around, even just his presence was enough to cause my wild and crazy family a few fleeting tame moments.
From the first moment Thea brought Steve into our home, our family fell in love with him. What wasn’t there to love? Everything about Steve showed what an amazing man he was. He had all the qualities of an almost perfect person, with every value and virtue a good person would have: integrity, accountability, self-discipline, responsibility, courage, loyalty, faith, and love.
Just looking at what Steve did as an occupation already says so much about him and how good a person he was. With his 8 years of service for the LAPD and 3 years of service to the FBI, he showed everyone everyday that he was intelligent and courageous. His presence in a room would do more than just light the room, but an air of dignity and respect surrounded him. When Steve spoke, you would listen. This may be because Steve was such an amazing listener himself. He would often just sit and listen to my family tell our stories about our day, week, month, year, even our lifetime. No matter how much our family talked, Steve never complained, and even seemed to enjoy listening to our stories, even if it was Filipino.
There was nothing that Steve did that our family did not enjoy. From late night karaoke nights, to our constant eating different foods, Steve would always join in our family fun. We could count on Steve if we ever needed him. There was no family event he did not attend. My favorite thing to hear about was how much he enjoyed eating with our family. As you all know, Filipinos can eat, and when you come to a Filipino’s house, you will be offered food. Steve would make sure to eat light lunch when he knew he was coming over, because we would be sure to cook all his favorite food. It always made us jealous that he would out eat all of us (except maybe for my dad), and remain skinnier than us.
But the thing that made Steve such a good person though, was his ability to love. The way he would look at my cousin Thea let me know how in love with her he was. You know that look of pure and respect and love that a person has when they have met their soul mate? That’s exactly how he looked at my cousin. He would always find ways to be playful with her, and to tickle her belly. He never shrugged away from a hug or a kiss from her, and I made them take a lot of pictures hugging and kissing. You could also tell just by looking at him that he loved Kyle so much. He was never too tired from work to play with Kyle, and would do anything for him. When Kyle would cry, his instinct was to hurry at his side. I remember a time that I came over to babysit when Kyle was almost 1 year old, so that he and my Ate Thea could rest. They were still home, but they could rest and not have to worry about Kyle, at least for a couple of hours. When Kyle would throw a tantrum or start to cry, I would see Steve come down the stairs and realize I was there, then head back up the stairs again. He just couldn’t shake that urge to come when Kyle would cry.
Family was so important to Steve, and I know he loved us just as much as we love him. Back in February, he started to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, and it was starting to trouble him. His kind and pure heart could no longer take some of the trials he was forced to face. But even with his pain, he never wanted to be a burden to our family, so he would put on a brave face, a smile, and try his best to not dampen the mood of our family gatherings. Steve was so self-sacrificing, and so quiet all the time, but our family could tell that he changed. Because of this change, we did our very best to show Steve how important he was to us, and that he was so special and so unique.
Our family even agreed that with everyone we knew, from family and our long line of friends and just about everyone else we knew, Steve was closest to perfection in character. To those of you who knew him, I’m sure you will agree with me. And to those who never got the chance to know the man, it will probably take another lifetime for another Steve to come alive.
He took care of himself. He was very healthy. He intended to have a long life, to grow old with my Ate Thea and see Kyle go off to college, get married, and have grandchildren. Family was his priority and he was ours. But I guess God had other plans for him. But because he was just so true and genuine and full of love, I miss him so much.
Thank you for being the heart of our family, Steve. Because of you, we strive to be as almost perfect as we knew you to be. We love and miss you, and your memory and goodness will forever live in our hearts and minds.
Be at peace, Steve. We will pray for you, but we ask you to pray for us, too. Until we see you.”
Then the ceremony was over and yet, it felt surreal to me.