In the spring of 2007 Scottsdale resident, proprietor and Charro Steve Posso’s life was changed forever.
Following back surgery earlier that year he began to experience symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
The disease took the proud gallop from the Iron Horse and gave no mercy to a man friends, family members and fellow Scottsdale Charro members describe as “one with a golden heart.”
While the disease over an eight-year period would eventually take the physical prowess — one that garnered him accolades on both playing fields and in particular on the tennis court — of Mr. Posso, it never took who he was or how he encountered the world around him.
Mr. Posso died at the age of 51 Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.
“He was a good kid,” said Nancy Posso Feb. 16 at her home in central Phoenix. “He was very outgoing. He was everybody’s friend.”
Mrs. Posso, Steve’s mom, points out the services held in his honor Feb. 3 at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church were filled with people her son touched during his time on Planet Earth.
“There were more than 500 people, had to be,” she recalled. “You should have heard the people — just an outpouring of love. It was because of the things he did for people.”
For 52 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.
“That’s just the kind of person Steve was, he was just a good-hearted person — he was a fun-loving Charro,” Mrs. Posso said.
An ALS diagnosis is devastating Mrs. Posso says but pointed out that “Steve did not want to sit in a chair and wait to die.”
Scottsdale Charro and longtime friend Rene Romero echoes that sentiment.
“He was the bravest man I have ever known,” he said. “He was a person that could overcome any obstacle that was put in his way.”
Mr. Romero recalls times when his friend’s perseverance was beyond anything he had encountered before.
“From the time he told me he had ALS and over the last eight years … He would sometimes get down for only a short time. He had this ability to quiet his mind and start to realize the great beauty that was his kids, that was his life. He could always bring himself back from the brink of depression.”
That fortitude never left him, Mr. Romero says.
“Even about 48 hours before his passed away we were laughing,” he said. “He did not waiver or wrinkle he was as strong as a brick wall and it was amazing to watch.”
A proficient sky diver and regular frequenter of the Bahamas, Mrs. Posso says ALS was only dominant in Steve’s life over the past few years.
“I would say it was pretty slow,” Mrs. Posso said of the pace of the progressive neurodegenerative disease. “He didn’t want pity and he would always worry about something else other than himself.”
The creation of Posso’s Posse is a testament to that ideal, Mrs. Posso says. Posso’s Posse is both a walk team that raises funds and awareness by participating in the Walk to Defeat ALS, as well as a children’s support program at the Arizona Chapter of the ALS Association.
Mr. Posso is survived by his parents Gerald and Nancy Posso; sons Jake and Joseph Posso; and grandson Keyne Wahl-Posso. He was a lifetime member of the Scottsdale Charros, a Scottsdale Leadership alum, a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous and a lover of Little League baseball.
“Steve always greeted people with a big smile and an open heart until the very end,” his obituary reads. “He knew no boundaries and lived in such a limitless way that his life inspired everyone around to live life to the fullest.”
Donations to Posso’s Posse can be made through the ALS Association Arizona chapter at www.alsaz.org.
Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 or at email@example.com