Monday, August 8, 2011

Stephen Victor Cruden Nygard, Remembering the Man.....


It is with such a heavy heart to have learned of the passing of Stephen Nygard. Stephen and his family were long-time residents of Guam and he was a personal friend and a business associate of Jeff's. We deeply grieve his untimely passing.

We, at Jeff's Pirates Cove, were so honored to have been chosen by Stephen's family to host his farewell gathering and memorial service.

It was a casual event where Stephen's family and friends, expressed not only their deepest condolences but also their life experiences with Stephen. The memorial service was a beautiful gathering. His ashes were released into the Pacific at 4pm August 6th.

Stephen was just 57 and left behind his beautiful wife, Rhea and Stephen Jr., his precious 11 year old son.

Jeff’s company, the Seaborne Society, is an alternative way to bid farewell to our dearly departed. And as mentioned above, Jeff Pleadwell and all of us at Jeff's Pirates Cove were honored to have been chosen as the location for Stephen Nygard's final farewell.

Here are some of the photos taken of the farewell service:


Steven's wife Rhea.

Farewell words from one of Stephen's friends, Hank Rice.

Another friend, Fred Black, with some kind words.

Eulogy from family friend Donna Dwiggins

Friend Mike Clemens speaking from the heart.

Photographer Frank Whitman

The memorial service at Jeff's Pirates Cove

Rhea and Steven Jr. boarding the kayaks with Stephen's ashes.

Friends showering the waters of the Pacific Ocean at Jeff's with flower pedals.

Friends and family bidding their final farewell as they watch the spreading of Stephen's ashes.

Rhea and Stephen Jr. spreading Stephen's ashes into the Pacific Ocean, Stephen Nygard's final resting place.

Here are obituaries from our local media and his hometown in North Carolina....

Stephen's Obituary in the Mariana's Variety, WEDNESDAY, 08 JUNE 2011 00:40 BY ZITA Y. TAITANO | VARIETY NEWS STAFF......

The island’s media, business, and sports community is mourning the death of Stephen Nygard, who passed away at 1:30 a.m. yesterday Guam time in Dallas, Texas. He was 57.

According to family friend Donna Dwiggins, she received a call early yesterday morning from Nygard’s wife Rhea Nygard to let her know about what happened.

“His wife woke up to get ready for work and found him collapsed on the floor in the bedroom,” said Dwiggins, adding that Nygard’s wife wasn’t awake when he collapsed.

Rhea called 911, but by the time medics arrived, it was too late. Steve was in Dallas so their son Steve Nygard II can spend the summer with Rhea, who is working there while Steve Sr. remained on Guam.

“She’s in shock. She’s back there by herself. She’s with their 11-year-old son,” Dwiggins said quietly.

Dwiggins said Nygard’s brother and sister are on their way to Dallas from North Carolina to be with Rhea.

Dwiggins has known the couple for about six years and has worked with Steve on several projects.

“He did work for the National Institute for Direct Instruction. He and I have been working together in the past few years on a charter school and trying to get it off the ground,” she said.

When asked what she remembers about Nygard, Dwiggins said it was his ability to laugh and take things in stride.

“He loves life. He lived life,” she said. “He was a well-known college ballplayer in North Carolina and after he graduated and moved here to Guam. He’s played in various games. He’s quite an avid golfer. He’s always been very involved in sports.”

Nygard was founder and president of TAGA Communications and former publisher of Glimpses and Marianas Business Journal, she adds.

The news of his death shocked those who have known him for years, including Guam Police Department spokesman Officer A.J. Balajadia, who said he just saw Nygard last week.

“Steve is very passionate about Guam Crime Stoppers and he considered the program to be a key ally in helping law enforcement solve cases,” Balajadia said. “He was a very strong believer in the program. He’s been involved with Guam Crime Stoppers for many years and he will surely be missed.”

Balajadia expressed his condolences to Nygard’s family.

Glimpses Publications publisher Maureen N. Maratita issued the following statement on Nygard’s death: “We are shocked and saddened at the sudden passing in Dallas on June 7 of Stephen V. Nygard, former Publisher of Glimpses Publications. Our profound sympathy goes out to Rhea Nygard, Steve’s son – Stephen Nygard II, and Steve’s family,” said Maratita.

Comments from the Mariana's Variety Obituary:

"Steve had the smoothest basketball shot I have ever tried to defend. But his heart and concern for others are among his greatest assets. I have been away from Guam for a few years but remember Steve calling in with island news on the Hutch & Jeff Radio show in a style only Steve could deliver. A smart, kind man who will be deeply missed by all. My prayers join all others who are lifting Steve's family and friends up to a loving God."
Jeff "Hutch" Walch

"Steve was my college roommate and one of the finest people a guy could know. He will truly be missed. God Bless his family!"
Jim Barbee

"So very sorry to learn of Steve's passing. He and I worked together at the PDN in the late 70's; and, it was my great pleasure to remake his acquaintenance when I moved back to Guam in 2003. Sending deepest condolences and prayers to his family."
Massey Rausch

"My condolences to the Nygard family. Remember hiring Steve in 1979 to work in our sports department at the PDN. Talented journalist and basketball player. Never surprised when he showed up after midnight with a quart of ice cream he wanted to share."
Cindy Luis

Pacific Daily News

Obituary published in The News & Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina on June 10, 2011, Stephen's hometown area.

Stephen Victor Cruden Nygard
Durham, North Carolina

Stephen Victor Cruden Nygard, firstborn son of Holger and Margaret Nygard of Durham, North Carolina, died unexpectedly, at the age of 57, Monday, June 6, 2011, in Dallas, Texas. He was born January 31, 1954 in Lawrence, Kansas. Stephen, known from his birth as Tibby (the British nickname for Stephen), spent most of his youth in Durham where he graduated from Northern High School and served as Student Body President in 1972. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill and received a BA in Journalism in 1976. He began his professional career as sports photographer and reporter for the Anson County Record in Rockingham, NC.

He was a superb athlete, a marathon runner and champion golfer. He excelled in basketball. His basketball participation spanned many years, from his days at Northern High School where he was known on the court as "the Northern Star," to the UNC Junior Varsity Basketball Team under the tutelage of Bill Guthridge and Dean Smith. His Guam-based basketball teams won many championships including a silver medal in the Summer Micronesian Games.

In 1978 he left the continental US to make his home in the Pacific. He settled in Agana Heights, Guam. In 1979 he became sports reporter for the Pacific Daily Newsand its business editor in 1982. Later that year he became the editor of Guam Business News, a monthly business journal. In 1985 he returned to the PDNas managing editor. In recent years, he started TAGA Communications, a consulting firm based in Guam. He worked for the National Institute for Direct Instruction to bring this educational method to the Guam school system. He also worked closely with the Agana Heights Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization. He represented Guam Crime Stoppers locally and internationally. People around the world mourn his death. He will always be loved by his family. He was preceded in death by his mother, Margaret Nygard.

He leaves, in Dallas, his wife and son, Rhea Nygard and Stephen Nygard II. In Guam, he leaves scores of friends, extended family and Labrador Retrievers, Precious, Zeus and Che'lu. In North Carolina, he leaves his father, Holger Nygard, his sister and brother-in-law, Jennifer Nygard and Bill Hamlet; his sister, Kerstin Nygard and her life partner, Harry C. Johnson III, his brother, Erik Nygard and his life partner, Teresa L. LaBiche, and his nephew, Rowan Nygard.

A memorial service will be held this Saturday, June 11, 2011 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Gonzalez Funeral Home, 3050 N. Stemmons Freeway, in Dallas, Texas.
Memorial contributions in Stephen Victor Cruden Nygard's name may be sent to Guahan Academy Charter School, PO Box CS Hagatna, Guam, 96932 to fund the sports program. Additional memorial services will be held at a later date for his family and friends in Guam and in Durham.

Rhea's Family

Rhea, Jeff and Stephen Jr.

From all of us at Jeff's Pirates Cove, Stephen Victor Cruden Nygard will always be remembered as an honorary "Son of Guam" and his ashes will always and forever be a part of Jeff's Pirates Cove.

Adios dear Steve, until we meet again.....


  1. Thank You .... Thank You ... Thank You for sharing this with us. Amanda Loui (Ponce) and myself (Mario Ponce) met on Guam (1999); we both had Steve as a common friend; we both are heartbroken that he has left us; however, we remain optomistic that we will all be together in the future. Steve stood up at our wedding (San Francisco, 2001) and those who met him the first time felt strongly about him ... he was a good person, a good man, a good friend ... and we always knew he'd be a GREAT husband and father. He will remain in our hearts forever ... his legacy lives. from Chicago, Illinois

  2. I am sad I was not able to attend this but have loved and always have loved Steve as my brother and not just a brother-in-law. I am glad you were able to return home to your beloved Guam in the beautiful ocean. Rest In Peace
    Filomena Thompson, Honolulu, HI

  3. Steve you are deeply missed. I am sad I was not able to attend this event when you returned home to your beloved Guam in the beautiful ocean. You were not only my brother-in-law but my brother. Rest In Peace

  4. I was sadden to learn about Steven's death. My fondest memory of Steven is when we were11-year old boys in 1965 playing football for Hillandale Elementary School. As sixth graders dresses in Duke blue, we had the second best record in the league. In fact we beat the first place team, the Elks, during the season. At the end of the season, we played the Elks again at Wallace Wade Stadium before the Duke-Wake Forest game. Steven was our star half-back. He was fast and hard to tackle. We didn't win the game but that didn't stop us from having a good time running all over the stadium in our uniforms during the Duke game. We explored every section of the stadium and watched some of the game. I do remember that as we were leaving the field the Wake Forest players sure were Big.

    I was intrigued by Steven's resourcefulness. We played our games on Saturday morning and to get to the game, Steven would ride his bicycle to my house normally arriving while we were eating breakfast. We offered him breakfast but he never accepted. We offered to pick him up at his house because it was several miles away but he didn't want us to. He only accepted a ride once because it was raining. He was a free spirit and he did thing his way.

    I don't remember Steven playing football beyond the sixth grade. He excelled at basketball and academic in high school. I always called him Steven, never Steve. He was scheduled to attend the Northern High School 20th class reunion and at the last minute had to cancel. The class had already made the Longest Journey Award for Steven at 5,130 miles. When he canceled his trip, I was next in line because I was living in Seattle at the time. That framed award sits on my desk and I think of that 11-year old Steven every time I look at it. Thank you Steven for that beautiful childhood memory and may God bless you and your family.

    John Fitch

  5. I just learned of Steven's passing away. I did not know him well (we went to different high schools in the Durham area), but I remember playing a pick up tag football game with him. It was on a practice field near Wallace Wade Stadium after Duke took a shellacking from Georgia Tech. He was so fast. I remember catching a pass and thinking I was going easily score. Steve came out of nowhere and tagged me, pretty much effortlessly. He was almost apologetic about it. I also recall what a decent person he seemed to be. Kind of reminded me of a latter day Billy Budd.
    I was very saddened to learn about his untimely passing away, and I wish his friends and family the best.
    Also, I have great respect for his Mother, Margaret...and indeed the whole Nygard family and how they have, and continue to have, a postive influence.

  6. RIP Stephen

  7. R.I.P. Stephen...