Christian humanist stalwart and gifted wit, Steve Masty (1954-2015), passed away from this world yesterday in London. He died peacefully after a long and brutal battle with cancer.
A priest administered Last Rites immediately prior to Steve’s death.
Many of you may remember Steve as The Imaginative Conservative‘s “Man in Kabul” and “Man in Kathmandu.” He was one of the best writers and thinkers I have ever encountered. Never did I read anything of his without being moved by immense, gut-ripping laughter as well being moved intellectually and spiritually.
He was, not surprisingly, a Hillsdale College graduate and an utter character.
I never actually had the privilege of meeting him in person, but we corresponded frequently. I cherish the letters I received from Steve. He never failed to encourage me in every thing I wrote concerning Russell Kirk. We had deep conversations regarding Christian humanism, Catholicism, Kirk, Tolkien, imagination, and every thing else that really matters in this world. He invited me to visit him in at his club in London, but I was unable to accept due to family obligations.
He lived in London half of the year and the other half either in Afghanistan or Nepal. His parents and brother live in Florida.
There’s a lot about Steve I would guess we’ll never know. During the Reagan years, Steve was embedded with the anti-Soviet Afghan resistance. No, I’m not joking. As one of Steve’s Hillsdale professors has remarked, he might have single-handedly have brought down the Soviet Union. An exaggeration, of course, but a brilliant one.
Whatever he was, he was very much his own man.
It seems appropriate that he passed away on the day after Christmas Day, on the Feast of St. Stephen. I write this not merely because they shared the same name, but because, as far as I know, Steve gave every ounce of his ability to promoting western civilization and Christendom. Devout in his faith, he disarmed all opponents with unequalled humor.
His passing reminds me yet again just how tenuous the things of this world are. Steve lived his life fighting for the things of eternity. I am certain he is now enjoying his heavenly reward.
Sad to hear this Mr Birzer always enjoyed his writings on Imaginative Conservative RIP
Nice appreciation of Steve. Glad you knew him through his writings, letters.
Thank you, Mr Birzer, for your kind obituary for Steve. I’m proud to say that he was a friend – and so that counts me among thousands, certainly. A slight correction: Steve was “embedded” in the (late) Reagan years in Peshawar, Pakistan where for years we knew each other and became friends. so very much more could (and should) be written about this truly good man. (Fr.) Greg Rice, MHM
FATHER RICE,, Just was reading the OBIT about Steve Masty and saw you comment. Where are you now ?? and how does one communicate with you ?? ?
Dave – just now am seeing your questions on Steve Masty memorial site – I’m working in Phoenix diocese – contact; firstname.lastname@example.org
It was good to read your obituary of Steve Masty.I first met him at The World’s First Hurdy Gurdy Festival in Lancaster ,UK where I was giving a childrens storytelling workshop with my violin and puppets.Steve drawn to the quirkiness of the event (Hudy Gurdy players from all over the globe turned up) was relaxing after an intensity of work in London and Kabul. We became friends and emailed regularly for 9 years and met up in London or Istanbul.I have some very happy,inspired and chuckling memories of this huge-hearted and great-minded man.I learnt much from him. His book under the pen-name Johannes Bergmann “The journey of the Magi” is a wonderful read; his knowledge and love of the Afghan peoples comes across in his writings and diplomatic advisory work -his writings and -before he lost fine motor skills of drawing – also in wonderful cartoons. The world is a duller, greyer more polarised place without Stephen J. Masty’s wit.Rest in peace, Steve.