Steve Appleton, 1960 - 2012
- Greg Patton, BSU Tennis Coach:
- "Steve did not fly, he soared through life. He gave us so many different things, he seized the moment, he lived life at the most heightened state of being ever, and the beauty is, you got to soar with him."
- Brian Toohey, Semiconductor Industry Association President:
- "He was a fierce competitor and his spirit of competition drove others to be their best."
- Mark Durcan, Micron Technology CEO:
- "We are here today to remember him, but not to forget him."
BOISE -- Thousands of guests filled Taco Bell Arena on Thursday to remember a man who lived his life to the fullest. A man who lived for adventure, worked hard for his company, and one who made it a priority to devote precious time to the people who meant the most to him: his family.
The late Micron CEO Steve Appleton was killed when his experimental plane crashed February 3 at the Boise Airport.
In conversations overheard before the ceremony began, people spoke highly of Appleton, commenting on his adventurous and giving spirit, specifically mentioning the numerous contributions he made to the Treasure Valley. Those would be the traits highlighted by his friends and colleagues throughout the memorial.
Micron President Mark Adams opened the service by sharing advice he received from Appleton, which he lives by now. He was told be aggressive and take risks, do whatever you can to win and to get the right result.
"Steve loved to help others. Steve never let success change who he was. He was compassionate and truly loved the people around him. He would do anything for anyone."
Sal Fish took the podium next. He is the CEO of SCORE International, which is in charge of the Baja 1,000. Appleton participated in this race and met Fish in 2006. Not only did Appleton give his all in the races, but Fish said he also brought food, clothing and toys to the impoverished people of the Baja peninsula during his trips.
"He wanted to win, and he was one of those guys that when he decided he wanted to do something, he was gonna do it one way and that was 110 percent," said Fish.
A home video and music montage played next, bringing tears to the eyes of reporters covering the event live and people in the audience.
"I never met #SteveAppleton but watching this brings tears to my eyes. This is a sad day and a day of celebration all wrapped into one," KTVB's Scott Evans tweeted from the memorial.
The intimate look at Appleton's life continued when Greg Herrick, President of the Aviation Foundation of America, spoke following the emotional montage. He called Steve Appleton "the brother he never had." They flew together, and recalled that Steve lived his life to be the very best he could be.
Herrick shared a story about Appleton's giving spirit, describing how he sent a large care package to a family running a restaurant in Mexico, where they stopped for lunch during a trip.
Herrick's speech was followed by another video montage, this one depicting Appleton's adventurous side. One journalist on Twitter mentioned while watching these videos, it is safe to assume that Appleton did more in his 52 years, than most will do in a lifetime.
When BSU tennis coach Greg Patton took to the podium, he spoke about Appleton's love of the game, love for adventure, and love of life.
"He loved, he did what he did, because he loved the feeling. Think about it, the feeling, how he felt, and you could see that in those videos. He loved to live life at a heightened state," said Patton. "He loved that feeling of taking risks and it just got greater and greater, and I feel sometimes that tennis propelled him there."
Patton told stories about Appleton's relationship with his teammates. He said they were more than teammates -- they were brothers.
"He loved to win, he was a ferocious competitor," Patton continued. "Steve did not fly, he soared through life. He gave us so many different things, he seized the moment, he lived life at the most heightened state of being ever, and the beauty is, you got to soar with him."
BSU President Bob Kustra agreed with Patton in a sense that Appleton gave a lot of himself to the community -- and to Boise State.
"His commitment to his Alma mater is evident from one end of the campus to the other," said BSU President Bob Kustra. In speaking about Appleton's contributions to the university, he said Appleton did not just sit on the sidelines, but he was involved in the process of making the university better. Appleton did more than write checks for Boise State, he was also a fan.
"It was in this very arena, for the last 23 years, right there," Kustra said as a spotlight was projected onto Appleton's usual seat in the arena. "There's where Steve and his family sat as they routed for the basketball program. He was so proud, so proud of his Alma mater."
Brian Toohey, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said Appleton was the longest surviving member on the association's board of directors.
"He is one of our industry's most energetic champions. His colleagues looked to him for inspiration and advice," Toohey told the room of thousands at the memorial. "He was a fierce competitor and his spirit of competition drove others to be their best."
Governor Otter became emotional while talking about his relationship with the community leader.
"He showed me the courage it takes in leadership with his guidance of Micron, of what needed to be done, when it needed to be done, and not to be hesitant about it," said Otter. "If you're right, go forward. Many of those same lessons I learned from Steve, we have had to use in the last few years."
The governor fought back tears as he ended his speech with a message to Steve, "Husband and father, legendary. Business man, a leader. Innovator, Edison-esque, Friend, gold."
Next, Micron CEO Mark Durcan shared stories about working with Appleton. He said Steve worked hard, led by example, and was a great man to work with. He was someone who would work night and day to protect the company that he loved.
"Although he was a great friend, and someone who we will never forget, he always made sure that what we were focused on was a successful future of Micron. The reason for that, is because he cared so deeply about Micron itself as a company and all of its employees."
Durcan went on, "As much as Steve loved Micron, and as much as he loved Boise State, and his racing and his flying, there was nothing closer to him than his family."
On behalf of the Micron team members around the world, Durcan presented Appleton's family with the flag that was flying at Micron the day Steve died. It serves as a symbol of deep appreciation for all he has done for the company, the community, and the state of Idaho.
"It was a great honor to work with Steve and know him personally, and have all those fun times together," Durcan said. "We are here today to remember him, but not to forget him."