Funeral for a friend just says no to Elders

By Frank "Buzz" Trexler
For The (Maryville, TN) Daily Times
Dec. 9, 1993

We buried Steve the day before Thanksgiving.

My former college roommate was less than two weeks past his 35th birthday when the battle came to an end – a time span that his mother referred to as 21 years of hell.

For you see, her only son Steve was good looking, humorous, intelligent – a one-time teacher with a master’s degree from University of Tennessee – most likable and generous. In fact, as his dad would say after the funeral, "Steve would take in a dog." Visiting his house you might find a street person sleeping on the living room floor, or "a busload of California hippies" who took Steve up on his offer at a North Carolina Rainbow gathering to drop in any time.

But Steve, who grew up in the Baptist faith and gave his life to Jesus as a pre-teen, fought a demon familiar to many our age: drugs and alcohol.

Looking at our 1974 high school yearbook, it’s easy to recall the drug-filled atmosphere that permeated the times; the heavy waft of marijuana smoke and the reek of stale beer were familiar at teen parties. Chances are it was those two substances that introduced the inherently curious Steve to the drug scene.


Steve Burleson at Thunder Valley Dragway
Steve Burleson laughs as I take a photo of him at Thunder Valley Dragway in 1981. In those days, we all jokingly referred to the drag races as "the drugs."
The Buzz Trexler Experience of the Reckless, Radical Love of God


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About Buzz Trexler

Buzz is a married father of two, managing editor for print/online at The (Maryville, TN) Daily Times and pastors Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa, TN. He is a 1981 graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he is a member of the Mass Communications Department Hall of Fame.


Inside you will find a collection of columns penned by Buzz on topics ranging from the death of Rich Mullins, to his battle with Hepatitis C, to asking the question, "Does God have a sense of humor."

CCM Interviews

Buzz talks with those who, as the late Larry Norman would say, "rock the flock." His interviews range from members of Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Jars of Clay and Third Day, to David Crowder and more.


Follow Buzz as he travels with Vine International on two different medical misison trips to Guatemala, as well as one with Volunteer Medical Mission. In 1999, he also went to Estonia with a Volunteers in Mission team.

Blog: Gathering Wool

Blog: The Pastor's Buzz