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Steve Bairstow, Small Town Lawyer – 2013 Founder’s Review

By Louise Deegan – Originally published in the 2013 Founder’s Review

Steve graduated from Lake Weir High School in 1965 after moving here from Illinois. His parents operated the Florida Hotel on North Magnolia in Ocala, a property his grandfather acquired around 1962. His father, a member of the Operating Engineers Union, later served as a school crossing guard. His mother managed an apartment complex in Ocala. Steve did not play sports in high school as he was an academic student. However, he does remember Coach J.M. Pfeil and had George Cope for a teacher.

Steve attended Central Florida Junior College in Ocala and earned an Associate of Arts Degree. He attended Florida Technical College in Orlando for four years and earned a degree in Computer Science. He worked in that field in Gainesville, FL, Houston, TX, and New Orleans, LA. Steve earned his law degree from Texas Southern University, which was a minority college with departments for each minority group, including women.

Steve was among the minority in the different ethnic groups. His wife Marie worked in the data processing department of a hospital. She now works as his secretary. They have one son who is a policeman with the City of Ocala; he is married and they have two children. Steve worked for Hames Printing with Frank Hames for a while and Walt and Ed Lazur, who owned the Belleview Bar. Walt was married to his aunt. Steve and Marie purchased the house that was Dr. Hanson’s office on Earp Street in Belleview and found it to be the oldest house in Belleview. While living there they would walk to Lassie’s Restaurant for supper. They ate out a lot because the restaurants in Belleview were within walking distance.

Steve was a Belleview City Commissioner for 6 years and also served as Mayor of Belleview. The Bairstows were active in the Belleview South Marion Chamber of Commerce for a few years, serving as chairman for Founder’s Day, putting on some of the largest, most well-attended events. Bairstow had two dogs and wanted more, but the City of Belleview had an ordinance that you could only have two dogs and two cats, not four dogs. He wanted more, so he purchased one and a quarter acres in Pedro and moved out there and got his four dogs. Three of the dogs came from the shelter. One is a Golden Retriever, another was supposed to be a Doberman but isn’t, one is sort of a hound, and the other is a Lab. He said a few years after he moved, the city changed the ordinance on how many dogs you could have.

He loves it in Pedro but found it was easier to cook than drive back into town. Steve is a gourmet cook and does most of the cooking, but said it is still easier to purchase meals. He misses living in Belleview but likes it where he is now. The biggest changes he has seen in Belleview is the population. He remembers the chicken farms for egg production. He also said The Villages has made a big change in Belleview.

Steve enjoys his work as an attorney and has his law office in Belleview. He purchased the building, which was the former office of Dr. Ronald Shelley, and fixed it up for his office.

He admits to having no hobbies. The only thing he did in the past was make Flamingos and Parrots from Styrofoam, make wooden knick-knacks, and birds that have movable wings in the wind, and is content to sit and watch his dogs run around in the yard. He claims to lead a very boring life. It may sound boring to others, but if you enjoy it, then it isn’t boring to you.

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