JDC saves a seat for ‘friend and supporter’ Steve Tappa

Steve Tappa John Deere Classic JDC
The John Deere Classic saved a seat for the late sports write Steve Tappa at Media Center during the 2024 John Deere Classic. CREDIT JENNIFER DEWITT

The late beloved Quad Cities sports writer Steve Tappa was unable to take his customary seat at the Media Center at TPC Deere Run in Silvis this year for the annual PGA Tour event he had covered like a blanket for decades.

Steven Michael Tappa, Feb. 5, 1966 — June 18, 2024. CREDIT TODD MIZENER

But despite his untimely death on June 18 at age 58 – and thanks to his friends at the John Deere Classic — Mr. Tappa has a presence at the event this week nonetheless. There’s a workstation set aside in the middle of the on-site JDC Media Center honoring this gentle giant.

It includes a large sign that says, “In Memory of Steve Tappa, Quad Cities Business Journal,” for which Mr. Tappa had served as a correspondent since shortly after the QCBJ’s inception in late 2021. 

On its Facebook page, the JDC called it “A fitting tribute to our late friend and supporter, Steve Tappa.”

And Quad Cities media members, who the QCBJ staff talked with at the course this week, agreed. Many had been colleagues and friends of Mr. Tappa whose career spanned decades and whose work appeared in multiple publications, on the web, television and radio.

Birdies Tappa’s last story

This would have been the third year that Mr. Tappa covered the annual PGA Tour event for his friends at the QCBJ. In fact, just hours before his death he submitted what would be his last story for us. It was about the critical importance of JDC Birdies for Charity, the fundraising arm of the JDC.

The QCBJ issue that contained that story and a copy of another that featured a 2023 JDC roundup story he wrote also are part of the memorial along with his 2024 JDC press pass. So is a copy of a Quad City Times containing a tribute column written by his friend and fellow sports writer Tom Johnston shortly after Mr. Tappa’s death.

Media friends have also added a hat as a reminder of Mr. Tappa’s longtime work with the The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Another hat added says “BPV”. It’s a nod to his role as a coach and commissioner of the Bettendorf-Pleasant Valley Youth league.

“Our sincere thanks to the JDC – and others – who made sure our dear friend was not forgotten,” QCBJ Editor Jennifer DeWitt said of the tribute on display in clubhouse’s lower level. “We are extremely proud to have worked with him here and over his impressive journalism career.” 

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