We’ve lost one of our best, a terrific journalist, teacher, and — most of all — human being.

I first knew Steve when we worked together in Kansas City in the mid to late 1980s. I was the newsroom nerd. Steve was anything but a nerd back then, but he was a great colleague and friend. He was my editor for a time, patient and encouraging and skillful at his craft.

Later, when the information ecosystem changed, so did he. Steve re-made himself as a journalist for the Digital Age. He saw amazing new potential for the craft if we used these new tools in smart ways, and was tireless in promoting the possibilities.

What never changed, and what will always be more important, was his essential kindness and integrity. He was a consummate family man, and a dear friend to so many. That’s truly what matters most in the end. Rest in peace, Steve.

I took a lot of pictures in Japan last month, but my camera stayed in my pocket when we visited the atomic bomb sites and museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These monuments to the use of nuclear weapons against human beings–so far the only such use, may it remain so–are firmly in my memory, and will always be there as long as my mind is working.