Steven F. Costa

Steven F. Costa, born Sept. 28, 1945, in Trenton, N.J., brought up in California, later a long-term resident of Pagosa Springs, saw the face of God on Sept. 9. 

His earthly father, Seraphin F. Costa, was second-generation Portuguese. Steve always said you’d have to be one to understand. “Sam” taught him to have fun. His mother, Alberta, put Steve to work at an early age selling strawberries door to door. Alberta taught her son discipline, hard work and responsibility. Steve taught himself to care about things others overlooked. 

Steve’s adored wife of over 40 years, Jo-Ann Costa, and his faithful caregiver, Diana Garza, were by his side at home when his soul joined the Kingdom of God. He was tenderly cared for and loved beyond compare. 

Steve deeply loved his sons, Sean, Jason (Ana) and Aaron. He smiled at the photos and cards sent over the miles from his grandchildren, Shannon, Aimee, Amelie, Jacob and Jordan. His cousin Donna Mythen and Roger Bass were among his treasured friends; Siska and Seri were his beloved four-legged companions. 

An exemplary and patient man, Steve’s influence and example were blessings to all who took the time to know his heart. And it was very good. Jo-Ann often said that he was the best half of her.

Before graduating from San Francisco State University with a major in economics in the storied 1960s, Steve witnessed the Vietnam War protests, Haight-Ashbury’s explosion of hippies, the rise of psychedelic drugs and all that made the ‘60s a history-making decade. At the Fillmore Auditorium, he watched musical legends such as Jimi Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Janis Joplin. Throughout his life, he continued to collect the music of his favorite artists, Jimi Hendrix and Grace Slick. Steve worked hard while attending college. To earn college money during the summers, he worked for a construction company, Kaiser Steel, and as a carpenter’s helper on blast furnaces. He learned electrical processes while helping build the Inland Center Mall. All of these jobs were precursors to his future success. 

Steve accomplished a long and varied career in information technology, holding positions as vice president, technical director, project manager and independent consultant for financial, utility, automotive, technology, aerospace, scientific instrument and other Fortune 500 companies. He frequently received recognition for his contributions, such as being designated as a Mark Maker for outstanding performance while a consultant to the Pacific Stock Exchange and General Electric.

Steve possessed an exceptional intellect. He was unstoppable when something needed to be solved. His methods were unquestionably complete throughout his professional career. Both in the workplace and personally, those who knew him understood that someone extraordinary had crossed their paths. 

In Redondo Beach, Calif., his and Jo-Ann’s former home, Steve cultivated exquisite roses, spending hours in his garden. He had a magic connection to all living things, a talent for making everything thrive. This included those closest to him. His warmth and beautiful smile lifted us. When he spoke, he had something to say. 

With concern for protecting the environment in which he and Jo-Ann resided, Steve tirelessly served the Teyuakan Heights Homeowners Association first as secretary-treasurer, followed by 10 years as president. Recognizing the need to bring into compliance outdated governing documents, in his usual collaborative way, Steve addressed the pertinent issues. The resulting documents are still in practice today. 

Along the way, Steve developed skills as a woodworker and collector of exotic woods. A highlight of his self-taught endeavor, he participated in the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, earning a certificate of accomplishment for making “Simply Beautiful Boxes.” His determination to use his hands to express his personal art was nothing less than dogged. He felt the wood in his being and the tactile experience of it became a meditation. Steve was a member of both the Southern California Old Tool Collectors and the Rocky Mountain Chapter. A decades-long collector of rare old planes and hand tools netted him more than any one man could ever hope to use. He loved their feel, beauty and history. He named his enterprise “Lost in the Woods.” 

Beginning in the summer of 2002, Steve did the heavy lifting building a home for Jo-Ann they named “Northstar.” Long before retirement became possible, they spent many memorable hours on their land planning their future home. Northstar was Steve’s labor for love rather than of love. It was his gift to Jo-Ann. As the general contractor by training, Steve overlooked no detail. The result was a beautiful collaboration of two hearts.

Jo-Ann and the family are thankful for Hospice of Mercy, Dr. Amber Reiss-Holt, Dr. Maureen Cooper, Dr. Bill Jordan and the oncology team at the hospital. A special thanks to Dan Keuning and Suzie Reno for their loving care. All of you are exceptional individuals who showed Steve compassion throughout his long illness. As you know, he never complained, always smiled and was sweet-natured until the end. Each of you made his remaining time here on earth more comfortable. He knew who you were although he could not express himself. His grateful green eyes spoke for him. 

Anyone wishing to make a donation to Steve’s memory may do so to Pagosa Bible Church, 209 Harman Park Drive, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Steve loved his church family, especially Pastor Dave. Although off-key, he loved to sing in church because he loved his Savior. A donation of any size would be Steve’s desire.

A tribute will be held at a later date to be announced. Until then, please hold Steve Costa in your hearts. 

“I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” a duet by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, is dedicated to Steve (and Jo-Ann). 

This story was posted on November 12, 2020.