EXPIRED: 11/13/09 – Stephen J. Bator Sr., 87, put up with a lot. Born June 25, 1922, in Kluknava, Slovaka, Bator served in the CCC and was a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy. After the war he settled in Ohio and did what a lot of Ohioans did. He got a job in the steel factories and raised a family, living the ‘American Dream.’
He also gave birth to a son who influenced a generation of kids to be young and loud and snotty.
Bator worked for 18 years at Truscon Steel and another 18 years at Republic Steel. He went to church regularly and was a member of St. Rose Church, active in their senior choir and senior citizens group. He was also a member of the Girard Senior Citizens and the Catholic War Veterans Post 1292 in Youngstown.
He didn’t do anything spectacular or outrageous or mindblowing. He was just a normal guy, who tried to have a normal life in a normal town with a normal wife, Marian.
But life wasn’t completely normal for Bator. He had a son: Stephen J. Bator, Jr., who changed his name to Stiv and left the stagnant normalcy of suburban Ohio for the exciting urban decay of New York City in the mid 70’s.
Stiv, who like his dad enjoyed singing, started one of the most influential US punk bands, the Dead Boys, along with guitarists Cheetah Chrome and Jimmy Zero, bassist Jeff Magnum and drummer Johnny Blitz. They ruled at CBGBs and put out two albums before they broke up. Stiv went on to lead another great band, Lords of the New Church before getting hit by a car on a Paris street and dying of his injuries in 1990.
But thru it all, Stephen Sr. was as proud as punch. His son had made it, albeit with some drug and alcohol issues, and they made regular sojourns to NYC or other stops along the way to watch him perform. When any of Stiv’s musician friends passed thru northern Ohio, they’d make a stop at Stephen and Marian’s home for a meal and Stephen would play them some Spike Jones records. That was what family did.
So, you may not have heard of Stephen Bator, Sr., or of Stiv Bators, but I loved Stiv, and I loved the Dead Boys. And I am sure that Stiv loved his Dad. And I hope father and son meet in Heaven and have a good hug.