Percussionist, Rush enthusiast, father, husband, brother, organ donor. Born Feb. 27, 1967, in Clinton, Ont., died Jan. 5, 2013, in London, Ont., of a stroke, aged 45.
Steve was the third of five children of Mary and Bill Hearn of Clinton, Ont. Though he seemed shy to those who didn’t know him well, at home he was anything but. Raised on the humour of Spike Jones and Monty Python, he could have entire conversations made up only of movie quotes.
As a child he was opinionated, easily frustrated and stubborn. Once, upon being told the shirt he was wearing was unsuitable for the weather, he became so angry that he slammed his dresser drawer shut with such force that the mirror on top crashed down on his head. He spent the next hour bleeding into the sink while his mother and sister washed glass out of his hair.
Steve loved anything technical, from jazz music to clocks and trains. He took things apart to see how they worked, starting with his little sister’s Slinky, then her second Slinky and then her toy phone. His parents were furious when they found first a transistor radio and then his mother’s new calculator spread out in pieces all over his bedroom floor, but he was forgiven when he restored both items to their original forms. A month after he was given an old, broken TV, he became the only Hearn child ever to have a working television for his own use.
Steve sometimes had trouble fitting in at school, but the used drum set that his parents got him when he was 10 allowed him to release his frustrations. (It worked much better than the toy drum set he’d had until then.) Steve quickly went through all the knowledge two local percussion teachers could give him. Though only in seventh grade, he joined the local concert band to help hone his skills, and later his parents sent him to the University of Western Ontario to take private lessons from a percussion professor.
Steve discovered Rush in 1981, and percussionist Neil Peart became his idol. For four years, Steve put all his earnings toward a Tama drum set like Peart’s, and by Grade 12 he had achieved his goal.
In 1990, Steve met Janice Johnson at a wedding shower. Later, at the wedding, Steve asked Janice to dance, and that very night they started talking about how many kids they were going to have together. They married two years later and had two children, Jill and Sam.
Steve became interested in computers in the 1980s (and was an early advocate of Apple products). His interest led to a career at CoreSolutions in London, Ont., where he was the leading expert in the database software FileMaker Pro. At work he delighted clients and co-workers with his “epic desk-drumming.”
Steve was involved in too many community organizations to list. He played percussion for several local bands, sang in choirs and was the go-to man for any organization needing technical assistance.
He was an avid proponent of organ donation, and upon his death gave three people the gift of life. The Transplant Database for London’s University Hospital has been dedicated to Steve’s memory.
In his career, community involvement and musical pursuits, Steve was never afraid to “make some noise.” Wherever he is now, we are certain he is doing exactly that.
Hayley Linfield was a friend of Steve.