Steve Crossley 1938–2015

Harry and I were very sad to hear of Steve's death. Steve was an early member of the Ski Club, coming to the Pre Ski Exercises at St John's College, and on the early holidays that we arranged. He was always a charmer, with his big brown eyes! Steve was a skilled graphic artist, and designed the original logo for the club. He served on the Committee for a while, and was one of the growing number of members with replacement joints. It was good to meet up with him again on Club holidays after he had a hip replacement, and to have Shelley join him. ........ Pat Ashworth

Read on for the moving tribute to Steve by his cousin Judyth.


His was a life well lived, contented with his lot, not overly ambitious for riches and possessions, and happy with what appears to have been a very good balance of work and play.

He was born in August 1938, the eldest child of Bert and Nora Crossley, and one of 15 greatly cherished grandchildren of Dr Richard and Mrs Hardman of Cheadle and then Woodford—both sides of his family were from Cheshire, and Lancashire, and, apart from a very brief spell in Australia, he chose to remain not more than 3 miles from where he was born.

After Art College in Manchester, where he won the much prized accolade of being Student of the Year, he went into advertising and that was what he did all is life, firstly with a large agency then latterly, being self employed and working from home.

Early in the 1900’s the Hardman’s started going to Llaneilian, in Anglesey, along with the extended family of our Grandmother, so that the tradition of huge numbers of family holidaying every August was started. My vivid memory of Steve from those days is of a handsome, energetic, always more suntanned than anyone else, athletic young man, who was, amongst his many attractive qualities was an absolutely incorrigible flirt, an attribute that was to stay with and be part of his persona, right up to the end of his life!! We were so blessed with health and our extended family, and Steve in particular had this dashing image, enhanced by his love of fast cars and he was the first amongst us to acquire a sports car, in which he would roar up to the cottage and take our grandmother and other elderly ladies out for outrageously fast spins around the mountain.

Growing up in Bramhall, his charm offensive was legendary, and his prowess as a sportsman, keen tennis player, sailor, and good all rounder was second to none. The thing that needs mentioning here though, is one of the most noteworthy things about him, and that is he never seemed to age. We used to call him the Peter Pan of Bramhall, and he encouraged this image, by always being extremely reluctant to reveal his true age and for years he got away with it!! He was creative, could sing beautifully, was a wicked mimic, and then after acquiring his house in Trent Close in 1975, became an excellent homemaker. The house is filled with his paintings of places he loved—where he had walked and sailed.

During his time, he had some lovely girlfriends, of whom we were all fond, but we had all but given up hope that he would ever change his bachelor status.

And then, out of the blue, in 1996 along comes perky, feisty, indomitable Shelley and his life changed! Sporty, fit, with 2 teenage girls, Shelley was the perfect foil for him. She learned to sail, extremely competently, and so began a relationship based on their mutual love of sport, love and respect for each other’s needs. No small feat when you consider how long Steve had been living his flirtatious bachelor existence!! However, after 7 years (as Shelley said—he was never one to rush into anything!) they married, in February 2003.

Two replacement hips notwithstanding, Steve and Shelley sailed, played tennis, developed their garden, and subsequently Steve learnt to adapt to step fatherhood, and even, latterly, being a step grandfather. Shelley in the meantime had to adapt to his stubbornness, his reluctance to have anything in the house changed, but they had such fun, and some wonderful wonderful holidays.

It was only three and a half years ago that the first indication of what was to come, in the form of a tiny tiny cancerous spot which appeared in one of his eyes. Secondaries followed pretty rapidly, with major surgery on his back, and the past year has been a heartrending decline in his strength, with the progression of this cruel disease.

Thankfully for him, Shelley was able to look after him at home, which was what they both wanted and he died peacefully in familiar surroundings.