Famous Alumni, Steve Van Gelder
Sunny Hills High Class of 1965

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Steve Van Gelder
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Steve  Van Gelder Memories Memories of Steve Van Gelder

Steve was one of the most memorable and distinctive, as well as one of the most original, of all SHHS students in school history. He was an immensely gifted musician who played a large variety of instruments, like his good friend Chuck Estes, '64. Steve was a member of the 1963-1964 classic on-campus folk group that featured Estes, Steve Noonan and Jackson Browne. SVB, as he was sometimes called, was also a member of probably hundreds of bands in his lifetime. Someone else should account for that. Steve was also a tremendous iconoclast who enjoyed bucking and even ridiculing authority when he could. He actually became an underground hero in Fullerton while he was still a high school student. In one of his most famous exploits, he and some '66 friends went down to the Turntable Record Shop, where one friend fitted a dog leash around SVB's neck and Steve got down on all fours to imitate a dog. He barked at passersby and people coming out of the store, while his friends stood by and laughed hysterically, howled until they fell down and rolled on the sidewalk. That was called a Happening in those days.

Steve recorded only one album, called JOE FOOL, in about 1980, maybe a little earlier. He spent the last years of his life on the island of Oahu with his wife and family, and after a long illness, died of cancer circa 2005. He was remembered by a large gathering of friends at a roadhouse on Temescal Canyon Road the next January, with Chuck Estes, myself, Lynn Smith, '66; Jackson, Greg Copeland and others in attendance, as well as SVB's wife, Dave Alvin of the Blasters, one of the Eagles, and many more. Steve Van Gelder will never be forgotten.

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