Steven Michael Law, age 56, passed away July 28, 2016, with his family by his side. He struggled against complications of a severe case of gallstone pancreatitis for over 5 months. Steve was born to Scott Milan Law and Margarethe Elizabeth Myklebost, on January 22, 1960 in Neubrücke, Germany.
Graduating from Mesa Verde High School of Citrus Heights, California in 1978, he was called to the Munich, Germany mission and served from 1979 to 1981. He was married to Connie Merryweather on September 17, 1982 and attended BYU, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in German Literature. They moved to California, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from UCLA, finishing there in 1988. After working for the New York Public Library and returning to the west coast to work in the Law Library for the State of California in Los Angeles, he moved to Provo, Utah with his family.
He worked for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Family History Library in Salt Lake City for 25 years and the Provo City Library for 21 years. For over 2 decades he managed 55-60 hour work weeks, as well as a long commute, where he made many friends, on the bus and the train and at his work.
In high school he ran track and played tennis; later he ran the St. George Marathon at 24, qualifying for the Boston Marathon with an impressive time of 3:24:00. He taught himself to play piano, and guitar, and was trained in violin. He enjoyed ping pong, hiking and camping, old movies, science fiction, singing, music, and trivia. Throughout his life, he studied Mormon History, Family History, Philosophy and Theology.
He will be remembered for his enormous variety of interests, and as he used to say, “There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.” He loved puns and wordplay just like his dad, and will be remembered for his wry sense of humor.
He is survived by his wife, Connie, and his 4 children, Mykle (Sarah), Keaton, Jennessa (Josh Fulton), and Connor, his sister, Glenda, and his two grandchildren, Lukas and Charlotte. He was loved by a great many people, and had friends all over the world from the Phillippines, Australia and Germany in his work for Family Search, the LDS Church’s website for family history research.
He was a practicing Latter-day Saint, and managed a calm, quiet, and stable approach to his curiosity that belied the sometimes difficult nature of the questions he researched. He was always available to help others with family history questions, and, when asked, provided mature perspective to his children on gospel matters. In his later years he spoke with some admiration for not only Hugh Nibley, the malcontent, but also Eugene England, who not only had admirable ideas and writing, but who lived a life that Steve described as being worth emulating.
He was a great resource to those around him, always knowing where to look for answers, when he didn’t know them himself. He was wise enough to suspend judgement, and he was well-read enough to reflect to others the important ideas they needed.
His viewing was August 4th, from 6-8 PM at the Provo Parkway Stake Center at 2801 West 620 North. The funeral will was held August 5th, at 11 AM at the same location with a graveside service directly afterward at the Pleasant Grove Cemetery.
I stayed until they lowered his casket into the earth, and placed the concrete cap onto his burial vault. I dropped a handful of dirt onto the vault, and read his name, emblazoned on the brass placard. I said goodbye, not for the first time, nor the last.
I miss him daily. I think of him when I hear witty jokes, or wordplay. I remember his strong hands and his warm embrace when I feel alone. I ponder on many of the things that he never got to do, and feel obligated, duty-bound to fulfill his wishes. I remember being young and hearing his voice, often when my own children talk to me.
And in quiet moments, I wonder, with Job of the scriptures, “If a man die, shall he live again?”
Will my father live again? Will I hear his voice? How long must I wait?
The thought of waiting 50 years to see him again is unbearable. The realization that I cannot ask him a question and hear his answer is painful, and frequent. I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of exploring his files, photos, and other documents; his repository of family history information is enormous. Yet, this is his legacy, and someone must continue his work. If not me, then who?
I feel inadequate, alone, responsible, and tired. I find myself crying often. I feel guilty about not feeling or thinking about the pain, but later am so overwhelmed by depression that I can’t bring myself to do household tasks. I pray for the chance to talk to him, to dream of his visitation, to sense his presence. I crave assurance as I have never craved it before.
Over time, I have become used to uncertainty. I infrequently obtain answers that alleviate uncertainty, and such answers generally seem to come slowly anyway. So I’ve become used to living with uncertainty. On this matter, I cannot bear it. I must know. I must be assured that he is there, somewhere, busy as he ever was, and in case of enough need, available to me. Without that assurance… lies despair and ruin.
In a strange agitation, I find myself motivated. My life has turned upside down in the last 6 months. My wife and I moved out, into our own home (with our two children), I lost my job, and am starting a business, and now, my father has gone. I find myself motivated to make this business endeavor successful, to take control of my circumstances and envision a future for my family, including my wife and children, but also my siblings, mother, and my dad’s only sister.
There are many others who offered help and prayers, and I appreciate them, including my mother-in-law, who showered my children with affection and cared for them and us while she stayed with us. I thank my wife, who has been a listening ear and endured my absent mind and lack of attention or focus.
A few people have offered me such understanding or help and showed me that they understand the loss I feel, and I feel they are worthy of mention. Tom, Dave, Gonzo, Sam, Eric, and Wes, you know who you are. Thank you for knowing how to grieve with me, and how to offer comfort. Gonzo, you identified traits of my father that I had not recognized I emulated, let alone that he had them. Dave, Tom, you truly know how to “mourn with those who mourn.” Sam, you have been ever-respectful and patient; thank you. Eric, your honesty about lacking empathy, and your solidarity with me in my anger at “trite certitudes” gave me energy and a place to put my anger down where it wouldn’t harm anyone. Wes, your bravery and courage, and unabashed, unflinching act(s) of open kindness have left a lasting impression.
The loss I feel is not only emotionally crippling at times, but I have always looked to my father to know best how to weather the storm of uncertainty. I find now that my ability to face that uncertainty is woefully inadequate. In times of doubt, my greatest asset in coming to terms with uncertainty and beginning my approach to some measure of understanding, or a clear answer, has always begun with surveying the landscape. In that attempt, in getting my bearings, as it were, my father was an invaluable resource, frequently knowing precisely where I ought to begin. It was a gift, a rare one, and one highly developed– honed from years of use. And now, in my greatest need of his guidance to begin surveying the landscape, I am ineffably bereft. I will likely say it many, many times, but I say here again: My father was the wisest man I have ever known.