What a moving and deeply affecting service today at Temple Beth Sholom in loving memory of Steve Chaykin. Several hundred legal glitterati were in attendance to mourn, grieve, and celebrate the larger than life personality that was Steve. I saw judges, lawyers, lawmakers, and other leaders of our community, all in solidarity at the untimely passing of a great lawyer, father, brother, son, husband, and community leader.
Steve's younger brother Robert shared tearful remembrances of growing up in North Miami Beach, and running away at age 9 to the nearby Royal Castle and 163rd Street Mall, playing in a local band, and even getting into a sibling squabble or two.
Steve's younger sister Robin perhaps is a secret Dylan ranter, as she quoted the lyrics from "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go":
But I'll see you in the sky above,UM President Donna Shalala ended her eloquent tribute to a huge UM booster with an invitation to Steve's ten-year old daughter Sydney -- the door is always open for you at the University of Miami.
In the tall grass, in the ones I love,
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.
Sam Rabin -- still shocked as are we all -- told old stories, funny stories, and gave us a picture of a man that he described as a total "mensch."
David Mandel choked back tears as he quietly remembered a dear friend and mentor.
Dan Gelber was funny, quick, and to the point as usual, and ended with some beautiful words to Steve's daughter about a man that he said "took him under his wing and never left."
Bruce Udolf shared several remarkable stories of "Diamond Steve" Chaykin and the heyday of the US Attorney's Office in the 80s and early 90s. He even said that Steve and Bruce were perhaps planning to assist in restoring public trust in the US Attorney's office, and of course everyone in Steve's orbit shared his passion for politics and for a change in the direction of the country.
Steve lived large, packed more into those 57 years than many of us could do in several lifetimes. He will be missed.
One takeaway is to be more professional -- grant a colleague an extension, tone down the smirking, mocking rhetoric, grant the other side a point or two and try to debate matters on the merits if possible. Respect the other side even if the feeling is not mutual. Spend more time, better time, quality time with your family, your friends, and give back some to the community. Make every second count.