Steve McGuinn grew up in Atlanta but always loved the coast. One thing he loved best about being on the water was the opportunity to climb the steps of lighthouses. He had gone to the top of many, including ones on Sullivan's Island, in St. Augustine, Fla., and on Tybee Island in Georgia.
Once on top, he would spend time daydreaming about what the life of the lighthouse keeper must have been like.
“I think he liked the idea of thinking about the lighthouse keeper, keeping watch, and having the whole ocean spread out in front of him,” says daughter Eileen McGuinn of Hawaii. He also was interested in knowing about the history and architecture of the lighthouses he visited.
“It was fun to climb to the top with him,” she says. “I have fond memories of that from when I was a kid. I am a little bit afraid of heights, but I would just kind of hold on to him and look around, not necessarily straight down. He always made me feel not scared.”
McGuinn, born Oct. 10, 1953, died March 24. During his life, he not only enjoyed recreational adventures such as touring lighthouses, but domestic ones that included gardening and cooking whatever vegetables grew, says daughter Elizabeth Polston of Summerville.
“He was always experimenting, never using a cookbook, just did his own thing,” says Polston. “When we were kids, we had a huge vegetable garden right on the front lawn with carrots, cucumbers and watermelons. Tending it was a lot of work.”
McGuinn began learning to cook from his mother when he was about 8.
“He would make those big huge cathead biscuits” for his children and grandchildren, Polston says. “He would make creamed corn and green beans and he liked to do ham and butter on the biscuits. He would snap the beans himself. He would take peppers from his garden and slice them up over whatever he ate. He raised jalapenos, Hungarian hot peppers.”
On the baker's rack in his kitchen, he grew rosemary, chives and basil, Polston says.
“He loved his basil plants and would put basil in everything. I don't know what the attraction was.”
Faith and kindness also were very important to him, says daughter Maggie Gilpin of Summerville. Her father, who was baptized a Jehovah's Witness at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium in 1971, served for years as an elder appointed to help members, including those in need of counseling.
“He was someone that you could go to and talk to. He was very approachable,” Gilpin says. “I think most people found him to be a good listener, very sympathetic and kind. When it came to peer pressure, many teens would turn to their friends for advice. I felt I could always turn to my dad.”
Gilpin also describes her father as a “hopeless romantic” who wrote poetry and always saw symbolism in day-to-day life. “There's a lot to miss about him,” says daughter Michelle Buchanan, “but what I'll miss most is the wisdom in his words. He always knew just the right words to say if you had a problem.”
Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.