Steve’s Ramblings: A Tirbute to Denny and Mike Steed

by Steve Dunford

When I was a kid when adults would tell me that time flies when I got older, I would never believe them.  There was something that happened ten years ago today that only seems like two or three years.  My hero of the faith passed away.  It was not a TV preacher or a professor of a bible college, it was a local preacher Denny Steed.

Denny Steed

Denny and his brother Mike passed away too soon.  They both left this life and went to their eternal home when both men were in their 50’s.  Denny had cancer, Mike had a fatal stroke.

I chose this title, because there is a Facebook page called A Tribute to Denny Steed, in which his son Derek is the administrator.  Several people were posting memories on there today.  Denny and Mike were inseparable, so I decided to tribute both of them today.

I am going to write this chronologically.  It was someone that I was around all my life.

In their early 20’s Denny and Mike helped their parents Bill and Irma run Steed’s Store in Thompsonville.  Denny was the butcher.  I think Mike’s role was a manager.  Denny’s wife Marsha, and Mike’s wife Jane were checkers along with long time employee Wanda Gunter.

Looking back I never wondered how they made any money.   They always opened up the soda machine for every kid in town when they were in the store.  The high school kids that worked there, anytime Bill and Irma was gone, (their parents) potato chips and cookies flew off the shelf.

I loved going to “the store” as a kid.  That is what it was referred to in Thompsonville.  Very few people called it Steeds.  Denny was quite the artist.  He knew I loved Peanuts.  He would draw me a personalized cartoon that was Charles Shultz quality. He was known for his on Christian Tracks, with the main character, Cannon Ball.

I used to have a security blanket when I was a toddler.  Denny and Mike would say, “Suck your thumb Linus.”  After I gave up the blanket, I would still fuss to bring it to the store so I could suck my thumb for them.

At the tender age of four they talked me into being a “country music star.”  The most requested songs were Behind Closed Doors and The Most Beautiful Girl by Charlie Rich, The Streak by Ray Stevens, and I Love by Tom T. Hall. Two Pepsi crates was my stage, and a 10 oz. soda bottle was my mic.

Denny and Mike being Denny and Mike

Every kid had to have a meat sticker.  When I was in kindergarten, a lot of us had our Steed’s Store stickers on.  I would sometimes fuss with my mom to let me go to the store and get a sticker from Denny.

Here is something else they pulled.  My great-grandma “Granny” (every person in Thompsonville called her that some would put Dunford after it) asked Mike or Denny if there was something she could get the men for Christmas.  There was a snow on and she did not want to go to town.  (Town meant you were going to Benton or West Frankfort, and once in a blue moon Harrisburg.)

They had a full case of Hai Karate aftershave and soap on a rope.  Those rascals cut her a good deal.  When I opened it, I felt like a man getting my first bottle of after shave.

My dad was on second shift.  After he left for work, mom my brother and I loaded up in the 1970 Nova we had at the time to go to town (Benton).  I had to go in the store to tell Denny and Mike what Santa Claus brought me.

They said, I see you got the cologne on that Granny got you.  Mike told me well in my adult life that I told them I would be shaving soon.   They busted out laughing telling me how “good” I smelled.

Around Pickle City my mom was hanging her head out the window my brother and I just put it plainly stunk.  We were allowed to go to Gibson’s to pick out some aftershave.  The Hai Karate bottles disappeared.

Reflecting back, I was in Kindergarten then.  The last day of school before Christmas my first grade year, their dad Bill came home for lunch.  We were having our school Christmas party and all the teachers were out in the hall crying.  Bill had a massive heart attack and passed away.  The funeral was on Christmas Eve.

At that time I think Denny might have been pastoring the Akin Baptist Church.  Mike was the song leader at Thompsonville First Baptist Church.  They both made a good evangelistic team as Denny would preach and Mike would lead the singing.

Mike went off to College at William Jewell, and might have gone on to seminary at Midwestern, both in Kansas City.  Denny soon would take the pastorate at Woodlawn First Baptist Church.  I am unsure that he went off to bible college or not.

Denny went on to pastor the Ten Mile Baptist Church of McLeansboro, East Benton Baptist Church, Dahlgren Baptist Church, Lebanon Baptist Church near Mt. Vernon, and he was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Galatia when he passed.

Mike was the music director and later the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Wayne City, Director of Missions of Salem South Baptist Association, a staff ,ember of Logan Street Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon, and was the pastor of  the New Hope Baptist Church northwest of Mount Vernon.  I might have missed a few.

Mike also had a hand in the inception of 90.9 The Vine, a Contemporary Christian station in Wayne City.  He was part of the morning show crew.  He had to ad-lib most of it and he was hilarious.

When I was the pastor of East Side Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, Mike would do stand up comedy at the association pastor Christmas parties.  Compared to Denny he was the straight one.  There was nothing greater in my adult life to run into them when they were both together.

Mike was hilarious when he preached, Denny was to, but he was more of a “Hell fire and brimstone” preacher.  Mike always said oh glory, Denny well glory.

Denny Called himself a “Bapticost.”  He would cut loose and preach for over an hour at times and it seemed like ten minutes.  It was hard, pulpit pounding, preaching.  He wasted his time taking his King James Bible to the pulpit because he could quote most of it,

The “Bapticost holding a revival in Savannah GA in 2004.

Both of them were my heroes of the faith.  This is why, they were for real, and they lived it.  Because of that, they lived it.  When I first started preaching, I used to say if only I could be like Denny.  I realized Denny was Denny, and Steve is Steve.  I have been accused myself of being a “Bapticost” at times.

One of the reasons I am a Southern Baptist, is I heard Denny Preach on the doctrine of the security of the believer out of Ephesians 1.  He took a home made jar of pickles to the pulpit.  He was showing how hard it was to get it off.  He said that Christ went to the cross to die for our sins one time. As a 16 year old, I dug into the Word of God, and that is why I believe that way.

As Denny passed from death unto life ten years ago today,  it was a bittersweet day.  I hated to lose him, but I know he was in a place where there was no more pain and suffering.

At both Denny and Mike’s funereal, the ones that went through the line was in the thousands.

Ten years later, after his death, there are people still talking about Denny.  That is the legacy you want to leave behind.

From the things that I have been through in life, I probably wont have a lot of goods in this world.   I have came to the realization the most important thing, is how many lives you have touched.

Both of these men had a great impact on mine.  I will see them again some day.





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