The Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club of Boston

A Tribute to Steve Gutz - SHPC Icon, Founding Member & Friend

Steve Gutz

A retired engineering manager from Lexington who was part of the historic growth and expansion of the former Digital Equipment Corporation in the 1980s - died Friday, May 27 at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was 69.

A long-time resident of Harvard, Mass., Steve was born in New York City on July 13, 1941. He attended Stuyvesant High School, earned his bachelor’s degree at City College of New York and a master’s at New York University. He married the late Arlene (Greenhut) Gutz of New York City in 1963.

He taught briefly at NYU and worked at Bell Labs before moving his family to Massachusetts in 1976.

During the course of a nearly 20-year career at Digital, Mr. Gutz became a critical figure in the company’s artificial intelligence group and helped design early versions of DEC operating systems and platforms.

Following his retirement from Digital in the early 1990s, he co-founded the former World Data Corp. in Bolton and worked as a consultant to a number of software and other technology companies.

Steve was an accomplished tobacconist and pipe-smoking aficionado, and for many years maintained one of the region’s most extensive and noteworthy collections of rare and custom pipes, lighters, ash trays and related items.

He was also an avid sports fan, a voracious reader and collector of books and a skilled woodworker who maintained a complete workshop at his home in Harvard.
Steve has been with the Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club since the beginning. He was one of our founding fathers. He was able to enjoy the heyday of pipe smoking in Massachusetts and was fortunate enough to attend the only pipe show held in Massachusetts (that I know of anyway). Wouldn't it be nice to have been part of that? Steve had a close connection with many people in the pipe smoking. Here are a some words from a few of them:

Memories of Steve

Andy "Doc Watson" Camire

Steve Gutz. The most involved and pipe consuming/collecting member that the Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club was ever to have as a member. Many years back I had the fortunate experience to meet Steve when I joined the SHPC. He was a large, friendly, most inviting person, and never ceased to have a broad smile on his face when involved with His favorite hobby of pipe and tobacco.

Steve was a collector of anything tobacciana since his early teens in New York City. So you can only imagine the wealth of knowledge and massive collection of fine pipes that he was able to amass over a lifetime of enjoying his hobby. Each and every pipe show was like a holiday to Steve. He would wander around the shows, choose many pipes that for some reason hit his fancy, and place them in his shirt pockets. As he would approach us with his overwhelmingly joyous greeting he would say, "look what I found" displaying his pocket bouquets of pipes and we would all laugh and celebrate his latest treasures.

At our SHPC meetings we would occasionally have show and swap meetings where we would sell or trade pipes amongst our members, and Steve would trade once in a while, but NEVER sell a pipe. As many pipes as Steve had, and he never really knew exactly how many, he viewed them one and all as treasured friends. And the numbers were certainly in the thousands!!!! At one point Jay Beard and I gave Steve the nickname "Mass. Consumer". Meaning that both being from Massachusetts and collecting in vast quantities was a fitting nickname.

I shall never forget the first Richmond, Virginia pipe show that I attended with Steve. He asked if I would join him in driving, to which I was most grateful to have such a fun traveling companion to share pipe experiences with and puff our way South. And he allowed me the pleasure to drive his Jaguar almost all the way down and back again so he could settle back with pipe and tobacco and REALLY enjoy the trip. To begin the trip I had to empty the overflowing ashtrays that were heaped in dottle, stick matches and used pipe cleaners. Steve virtually lived with a pipe in hand even whilst driving. He was most appreciative and said "Wow, Andy, thanks for emptying those ashtrays, I've been meaning to do that for weeks now". We just laughed together and had the time of our lives, as we traveled south with pipe smoke billowing from our pipes out the windows. It was not the last of our pipe shows together and each one was an experience to treasure forever.

At one point in his years of collecting, he purchased so many tobacco items over the Internet, that packages were arriving daily at his doorstep. His loving and Dear wife Arlene said to Steve, "You know Steve, when you get to know the UPS driver on a first name basis, this is getting serious". Did we ever laugh over her statement. Steve was the most enthusiastic and fun loving pipe companion anyone could hope to find.

Steve's only other love was that for his wife Arlene, and his children. And as much as Steve's life revolved around pipes, his family always took precedence.

We all know exactly where Steve is today. Making the ever after an enjoyable place and sharing more of his friendliness and pipe knowledge with his friends.

Dante "Quincy" Cannarozzi

My first memories of Steve Gutz go back to the "good old days" of our meetings at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield. At my first meeting, I was seated at the same round table as Steve and he appeared as Santa with the largest pipe I had ever seen. Steve was always a gracious host to any new member and we quickly became pals. I looked forward to those meetings every month and I always tried to sit at his table which usually included Dock Perry, Andy Camire and Bob Kiess. There was never a dull moment and I learned a tremendous amount about pipes and pipe tobacco from these guys.

All SHPC members from those days remember Steve hosting the annual summer picnic at his home with his wonderful wife Arlene. While at the Gutz home, in addition to the great food we were able to see his extensive collection of high grade pipes and his library of books. Many times I suggested that he catalog his extensive pipe collection, but he always replied that it was his greatest pleasure was to re-discover a pipe that he had forgotten about in his collection.

Perhaps my best memory of Steve was our frequent visits to pipe shops ( yes, in those days they actually had "pipes" at pipe shops). We usually had to travel a long distance to those shops in New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island so we always stopped for lunch along the way and usually returned with several pipes and unusual pipe tobacco for our collections-- always anxious for the next time we would meet and do it all over again.

When I moved to Delaware, I telephoned him from time to time and at my last call he was getting out and had even attended a SHPC meeting which was the best medicine you could give him.

I was very sorry to hear of his demise which is a great loss to all of us and the SHPC.

Rick "Abacus" Frederics

I remember the first time I went over to Steve's house and saw the huge number of pipes he owned. Club Members said that he had more than 4,000 pipes. I was in awe of Steve's collection especially since I only had about 25 pipes to my name at the time. During one of those visits we made plans to go to Brookline and go to Zaftigs so he could have his favorite New York Pastrami. Did he love his Pastrami and we did this trip a few times. We also got together to go to Watch City and we took a few trips around Brookline and Newton to find some Jewish bakeries. Always smoking our pipes and always finding a good place to eat. On one of those trips we talked about his pipe collection and how I would like to have a large collection of my own someday. It was then that he told me something that has stayed with me always - it is not the number of pipes you own but how you enjoy the pipes you have. Steve enjoyed pipe smoking, that was obvious. he was fun to be with. I will miss his stories, I will miss his wisdom and I will miss his friendship.

Nelson "Rockafella" Pidgeon

One thing about Steve that sticks out in my mind most is how much he sticks out in a crowd. I remember driving through my home town of Marshfield many years ago. I was slowing down for the light and out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure walking slowly out of store but it wasn't until I saw the distinct way he put his pipe into his mouth that I said to myself.... "I know that guy." He lived in Harvard, why would I ever expect to see him here in Marshfield. I took a quick right into the parking lot and said hello. It seems the family had a summer place down here and they were visiting a local photographer to set up a family photo shoot on the beach. Small world.

Arthur "Bulldog" Harvey

The two things that are embedded in my memory about Steve were how much he enjoyed coming out to the club every month. He would walk in the room with a big grin on an in his booming voice give everyone a big HELLO, not to mention that laugh of his. The second thing was how encouraging he was to new members. John Power and I started coming around the same time and Steve always made a point of chatting with us and offering sage advice on collecting, trading, and just how much tobacco you could pack into a Dunhill ODA.

Tim Hynick

Steve was one of the friendliest and most enjoyable persons I have ever had the pleasure to have known. I have always known him to be a happy person who loved his wife and children dearly and enjoyed his friends and hobbies. Over the years, I have spent time with Steve in a number of different ways and during good and not so good times. I was graciously invited over to his house for the annual barbecue, accompanied him on Pipe Club Road trips, and hung around with him during pipe club meetings. What was most enjoyable about these times was listening to Steve tell wonderful stories about his experiences in the pipe hobby and all the interesting people he had met along the way.

I also spent time with Steve during less happy times such as when I visited him in the hospital when he was recovering from his illness. Even during these times, when you knew he was struggling, he always was a delightful friend who made you feel that he valued having you in his company. When I went over to Steve's apartment, we would play chess together, talk about sports, pipes, and life in general. He always showed me some new pipes or tobacco that he had acquired usually with some amazing deals on Ebay. We joked about his cat Ebeneezer who relentlessly nudged against my elbow to be petted. During these times, I felt I got to know him a little bit better. Steve shared with me his feelings about the loss of his dear wife Arlene. Although he clearly was very successful in his life, Steve clearly valued his relationship with his wife and family above all else. His statements helped me to realize what things are important in the world. Steve also generously shared with me some of his experience in the business world which I could apply to my recent efforts to start my own practice. He had a wealth of wisdom which he was willing to share with me. I will miss Steve immensely. I will always imagine his presence at pipe club and I have been very fortunate to have met him and receive his friendship.

Ted "Sea Foam" Blank

I am so sad to hear of Steve's passing as in the early days of the pipe club, Steve and I would travel to Chicago for the annual pipe show where we had a lot of fun in the world of pipes. Steve would always wear a plaid shirt with suspenders so that I could always locate him in the large convention hall. I will miss his sense of humor which he retained even after his body began to fail. I love you, Steve.

Bob "Graybow" Kiess

Pipes still with tobacco in them in his racks.

His very kind nature and willingness to help and contribute to our club and the pipe world; he was especially ready to do a lot for the Charatan focus meetings at Chicago and right after his start with that he became ill and did not return to Chicago.

Wonderful times at his house and the meetings with great food and sharing pipes and tobacco. Arlene especially made those wonderful times and he was very blessed to have such a great wife.

His passion for collecting hoards of pipes

I missed him at the shows and now even more. We were fortunate to know him!!

Neil "The Nose" Morris

I didn't know Steve very well, I felt a connection with him and always smiled when I saw that he'd made the effort to come to a meeting. It's been a sad year for the club, losing Ken and now Steve. As you're well aware, I too am a Condor fan and tonight I smoke a bowl in Steve's honor.

Eric "Ever Ready" Kahn

After hearing about Steve's passing, I was in a depressed mood, as you can well imagine. He's been a friend for many years. Probably the first to befriend me when I joined SHPC. A number of years ago, he gave me a tin of Condor Ready Rubbed. It was old, and when you shook it you could tell that the contents had dried out. But the tin was pretty rare these days. He'd given it to me as a birthday present. When I got home, just for yucks, I put in in my refrigerator humidor and let it sit. I never really thought it would rehydrate; figured that it was past dust. I'd truly forgotten about it, completely.

But that evening I wanted to have a special smoke to his memory, and I keep some special tobaccos in the humidor. So I opened the humidor, and because it was so packed, I had to pull out a few things. And there it was, the tin he'd given me. Could it be smoked? I shook it, and there was no movement like I'd heard before. I thought I'd give it a try, I had nothing to lose. The can was rather corroded and pitted. The lid was not a twist off, you had to place some coin or leverage against it to open it. The tobacco was perfect. Just right for smoking.

I placed some in a bowl. Thinking to myself how appropriate it was that I smoke some of this Condor. Steve and I both loved Condor. I would always make sure I got some for him when I was in the UK. So I imagined Steve sitting next to me, and sharing a bowl, deeply regretting that it can never again be. I lit up the tobacco, not knowing what to expect after years in the humidor. It was wonderful. Smooth and rich in complexity. Round and deep. Just like my friend Steve.

Tom Martin

I have no specific memory, but I remember him to be a kind man... And OY. All them pipes!

If you like to add you memory here, send us an email and we'll add it.

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