Steve Blom, 40; Summers won't be the same
Steve Blom had a Harley-Davidson in his kitchen.
"It was his baby," says his sister-in-law, Dawn Blom. "Aside from his baby," she quickly adds. Because 12-year-old Steven Jr. was his father's best friend. His dirt bike stood right next to the Harley, and the two spent many hours riding together.
Steve, 40, lived in the same Cranston neighborhood for the last 21 years. All the kids would hang out at his house, says Dawn, who lives a block away. He'd give them rides on the dirt bike, and in the summer they'd get out the hose and have mud fights, and Steve would get right into it with them.
"He was a kid himself," she says.
Her son's friends have told him, "summers aren't ever going to be the same."
Steve, a self-employed painter, was always in a good mood, always laid-back and fun to be around.
"I never saw him angry," Dawn says. She can't stress enough "what a good father he was."
Steve Jr. lived with his father during the week and his mother on weekends. When he was at one parent's house, he would always call the other to say goodnight.
Now he calls his uncle Kevin from his mom's. Kevin Blom, who was injured in the fire, has put plans to move to Florida on hold to be here for Steve's son.
Steve loved motorcycles so much, he used to say he wanted a Harley procession for his funeral. So that's what Dawn and her husband, Steve's brother Allen, tried to arrange.
She contacted the Ocean State H.O.G. (for Harley Owners Group) "and they all showed up at his wake" -- at least 30 people. Because it was winter, they couldn't ride. But it would have meant a lot to Steve anyway, Dawn says.
"It was the closest thing to what he would have wanted."
Club members told the Bloms that their first ride of the spring will be dedicated to Steve.-- Mimi Burkhardt, Providence Journal staff