For a big man, Steve Myrick did not loom. Instead, he listened.

In fact, he had the unique trait of being able to hold court while saying nothing at all. In other words, he had presence — in the newsroom, behind a camera, at the tiller of a sailboat, on a barstool, at the racetrack. And his presence made the Gazette newsroom a special place to be when he worked here as a reporter from 2015 to 2019.

Steve came to the Gazette later in life, after a long career in television and print journalism. Upon arrival he rolled up his sleeves and said, “Put me to work. I’ll do anything.”

That request personified the man who would quickly become the Gazette’s senior writer: humble and hardworking. And he more than made good on his promise, writing stories from the perspective of a man who had seen it all but never became jaded. His big heart and sense of irony would never allow for that.

He could write spot news stories on the spot, dig deeply into arcane records and transcripts, and tell another person’s life story in a way that made younger reporters often say: “I want to write like that.”

In the newsroom he anchored a desk in the corner, hunkered down at his computer, his thick fingers pecking away at the keyboard. Every so often he would look up, bemused at the newsroom chatter and add his own perfect line to the mix, his wry sense of humor always at the ready.

He walked slowly and carried a big reporter’s notebook. I remember someone in the community telling me they saw him on assignment once and wondered why he seemed to be just standing around. I said, wait until his story comes out, he’ll help you see that scene better than you saw it yourself.

But don’t take my word for it. Consider this opening to his profile of Everett Poole, a perfect example of the Myrick touch: “His wit is keen and his laugh comes easily. He is 87 this summer, and every one of those 87 years has worn a crease or two into his craggy, bearded countenance. He tamps tobacco into his pipe and lights it with a fearsome looking torch device. The sweet smell of pipe smoke fills the shop.”

When a writer who can do that sends you a note to say how much he enjoyed your story, which he did for many Gazette reporters, you feel like you have been given a pass to a special kind of club, the sort of place Steve Myrick liked to hang out at, nothing fancy, where humor and thoughtfulness are served up in equal measures.

Steve loved horse racing, sailing, his family, the Vineyard community, music, photography, the police scanner, beer and good bourbon. He was communal and solitary, and he loved telling stories, quietly and creatively, the way the best ones are told.

He also loved restraint in his writing and I can see him looking at me now as I write all these words of praise, cocking his head as if to say, enough already. But I can also see him at the keyboard later, sending me a note to say thank you, because that’s the kind of guy he was.

It feels right to let Steve have the last word here, to stand aside and marvel at and be thankful for what he has left behind. Here is an excerpt from his final piece for the Gazette, a goodbye to the Vineyard, written this fall.

“My boat Snappy Lede was my home in Vineyard Haven harbor for eight summers. With me was Joe the Cat, best first mate I ever had. Dozens of gorgeous boats surrounded me. It was a short leg to the start line of the Vineyard Cup and the Moffett Race. Countless sunrises, countless sunsets. Infinite stars. I learned how to photograph the vast night sky, and the tiny bluebirds on an oak tree in front of my little cabin. Belonging to a community that turns out half the town to watch a boat launch was a consummate joy. I interviewed senators and congressmen, and followed POTUS around in a big yellow bus. In my years here I heard more good live music than in all the rest of my life. I have learned there is way more good than evil in this world.”