---- — OTTUMWA — Steven Duane Buchholz, 63, of Marina, Calif., and formerly of Agency and Ottumwa, Iowa, passed away at 8:05 a.m. March 30, 2014, at the San Jose Regional Medical Center, San Jose, Calif.
Steve, a person with Down Syndrome, was born at the Ottumwa Hospital on January 24, 1951, to Ernest and Bernice Buchholz. Steve, a fun-loving individual, spent the first 51 years of his life in Agency and Ottumwa, Iowa. It was during this time that he developed his love of “farmer guys,” cows and tractors . . . especially John Deere tractors. During later years, after several trips to California to see his sisters, Joyce and Jan, he realized that it didn’t snow where they lived. If you ever mentioned snow to Steven, he would say: “I hate it, I JUST hate it!” So, in September 2002, Steve decided to move to California. His brother-in-law, Harry O’Dell, drove back to Iowa where they packed up his belongings and away they went to California. If, at that time you happened to see two guys driving West in a pickup truck singing Johnny Cash songs, it was probably them.
As soon as he arrived, he quickly became a “California guy,” loving every minute of all the activities he now had available to him. He kept busy attending a day program at Gateway Center in Pacific Grove, Calif., going out to social events through them and Creative Pathways. In his spare time he attended many dances where he was quick to show everyone that he knew how to do all the latest dances. He had girlfriends aplenty because of his charming ways which included saying the words “Honey Doll” and “I love you,” that won many a gal’s heart. He was involved in Special Olympics, where he was a Gold Medal winner at the Northern California State Games in his favorites... Bowling and Bocce Ball.
In February 2010, with the difficulties caused by his increasing dementia, it became necessary to move Steve to a small care facility in Milpitas, Calif. While living there at the Jennison Care Home, he received wonderful care from everyone working there and was still able to enjoy outings with his new housemates.
His family will miss Steve very much, as will many others. Steve never met a stranger and was particularly friendly with law enforcement, military and pretty girls. If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Steve, you could never forget him and, if you never had the pleasure of meeting him, you missed the opportunity of a lifetime. His upbeat and outgoing personality were impossible to overlook.
Steve is survived by his mother, Bernice Buchholz of Ottumwa; sisters, Joyce Brewer of Dallas, Texas, and Janice O’Dell of Marina, Calif.; nephews, Barry Brewer and Dan O’Dell; nieces Melissa Blackman and Suzanne O’Dell; a great-niece, Sarah Trainer; and great-nephews, Cameron and Graham Blackman.
Steve was predeceased by his father, Ernest Buchholz, many aunts and uncles as well as other relatives and friends, both in Iowa and California.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday at Reece Funeral Home with Gary Reeves officiating. Burial will be in McCormick Cemetery.
The family will be present one hour prior to the service.
Memorials may be made to the San Andreas Regional Center, 300 Orchard City Drive, Suite 170, Campbell, Calif. 95008 or Northern California Special Olympics, 348 Buskirk Ave. #340, Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523.
Our thanks to the various doctors in California who treated him over the years. An extra special thanks to Dr. David Awerbuck and one of his staff, Carol, whose assistance was needed more than once in order to get him into the examining room. Thanks also to the various employees of StarBucks in Marina, Calif., who knew him by name and what he wanted to drink, and to the employees at Nob Hill Food Stores in Salinas, Calif.. Even after four years of absence, they still ask about him.