By all accounts, Steve Tredway’s walk in faith was of the utmost importance to him.
The late Tredway was laid to rest on Oct. 24 at Burden Cemetery, following a service at Miles Funeral Service in Winfield that celebrated his rich, talented life.
The funeral chapel was full to capacity with family members, friends, former bandmates, WestRock co-workers, acquaintances from Burden and many others whose lives Tredway touched in his 65 years on Earth.
Fellow musician Craig Hall said his dear friend, who played many instruments, never turned down an opportunity to share the gospel.
Hall knew Tredway for 40 years — the two worked together during a pair of stints at Binney & Smith in Winfield — and played music with him for nearly as long. The pair often could be found sharing their love of music and playing their vintage guitars during lunch breaks at the crayon plant.
Hall fondly remembered their taking song requests from a crowd of co-workers and being caught by management on a few occasions.
Music was not Tredway’s only talent, either. Various speakers reflected on his skills at pottery, photography, fabrication, fishing and even his recently discovered love of skydiving. His ceramic vessels and stunning images adorn homes, offices, and even museums across the country.
Ever the Renaissance man, Tredway even was working on a book full of photos of and stories about the 18 stone bridges of Cowley County at the time of his death. While acknowledging that God always has a plan, Pastor Michael Bowen said it still felt like Tredway’s life was cut short.
Faith of Tredway
Years after meeting Hall, Tredway found his faith in a Denver airport.
His decision to follow God was made after a stranger spoke to him about Jesus there.
Not long after that, Tredway recruited Hall to join a gospel praise band, N-Not-Of — the name is a reference to a passage in John 17, where Christ refers to Himself as being sent “into the world,” but clarifies that He is “not of the world.”
For nearly a decade, the band played on the cutting edge of a new wave of gospel praise music, in venues ranging from small churches to large stadiums. One of the band’s most successful songs, “Most Holy,” was played during the funeral service, which many band members attended.
Even after the members of N-Not-Of disbanded, several eulogists related, Tredway never turned down a request to help a church with its music.
Many years later, Tredway was baptized in the Jordan River. That experience and his travels to the Holy Land changed him for the better, said Bowen, pastor of Wings as Eagles Church in Winfield, where Tredway most recently attended.
“He never hid his faith. He shared it with everyone,” Bowen said. “He was always willing to pray with anyone, at any time, in any place.”
Hall expressed his sorrow for his friend’s passing, but fondly remarked that “God’s great choir just got a lot better.”
After quoting some of the lyrics of the gospel hymn, “Amazing Grace,” Bowen said that he believes Tredway’s greatest wish would be for everyone in attendance “to know and experience the love of God.”
Tredway’s death was sudden and unexpected, causing a river of tears to be shed, according to Bowen.
Tredway was highly regarded by all who met him because he remained fun at heart — Bowen called him “the ageless wonder.”
He nurtured youth, who seemed drawn to him, according to the pastor.
Tredway gave of himself willingly to foster, “draw out and refine their talents,” he said.
Bowen shared these words, which he said best described Tredway:
- He was a man of integrity.
- He was honest.
- He was a true gentleman.
- He was a skilled craftsman.
- He was someone who loved his family and people.
- He was a brilliant musician
- He was a man of faith.
- He was the genuine article.
In offering some words of comfort to Tredway’s mother, siblings, son and grandchildren, Bowen reflected on the passage in Hebrews that compares life to a race and urges Christians to “finish well.”
He said Tredway had finished well and now was in Heaven’s grandstands, cheering the rest of them on.
“Don’t let anyone hinder you or slow you down,” Bowen finished.