July 10, 1954 – September 10, 2018
Yukon Internet pioneer and advocate sets out for new territories “Reasonable, affordable internet access for all Yukon communities.”
That mission statement originally hammered together by a small group of Yukon computer enthusiasts became the rallying cry of the second half of Rick’s life.
He and his group of friends created the society which acted as the citizen champion in getting internet to the Yukon by 1995, well before areas of Canada larger and less remote. By the end of 1995, virtually every Yukon community was online.
The arrival of the era of high-speed Internet spelled the end of private ISP operations like the YukonNet Operating Society (YOS). This was a worldwide, not local, reality. Nevertheless, YOS, with Rick as president, continued to serve as citizen champions to ensure that all Yukon communities benefited from this new future.
The society folded operations in 2004 and Rick moved on to the position of technology innovation officer of the Yukon Technology Innovation Centre at Yukon College. His role there was to help Yukoners develop and test their ideas and to provide human and financial support to help them succeed.
Rick retired in 2014 but continued to be an active voice in affairs dealing with the enhancement of technological support for the human good. He was a familiar face in the local media in this role.
To the surprise of everyone who thought Rick was destined to be one of those crusty old bachelors, it turned out that he had a romantic vision of his future with women as well. Aline first saw Whitehorse in the summer of 2005, but it was a dark night in December 2010 when his new wife of Sao Paulo, Brazil, settled here as a landed immigrant. It was 33 degrees below zero. By the time she and her luggage reached Rick’s car, her nose, hands and feet were freezing. The two were married in February 2007.
Rick is survived by his wife Aline, by Gordon Steele (brother) and Mary Steele (sister), Elvis & Costella (cockatiels), and by nephews, nieces, and now great nephews and nieces.
Rick greatly prefers that no celebration of life event be held. He would prefer that any remembrance gatherings for him be very informal.
Whatever you decide on, do it in the spirit of Rick’s hero, Frank Zappa. “Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?”