Profile by Gretchen Crowe
It’s hard to convince a shy, hard-working and self-sufficient person to be interviewed and withstand the spotlight for the vendor profile. But after much convincing and cajoling, Steve Szloboda agreed to share his story with us.
Steve is a Denver native—born and raised here, though his parents emigrated from Hungary shortly before he was born. They fled the violence of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 in search of peace and a better life for their nine-year-old daughter and soon-to-be-born son. Then, at three months old, Steve’s father was killed by a drunk driver.
Steve talks so lovingly and appreciatively of his mother, Vilma Filkom, who all alone in Littleton worked and raised her children in this foreign country. She worked for years doing custodial work for First National Bank until she began soldering sewing needles, and then ultimately became a professional nurse’s aid, or caregiver. Steve was able to give back and was her caregiver until she passed about a year and a half ago.
Steve attended Horace Middle School and North High School, leaving early to work. Like most youngsters, Steve had a few wild days, but he has always remained sober and anti-alcohol. Steve wears a well-weathered scar on his right eye from another drunk driver hitting his mother’s car when he was five years old; the accident injured the entire family, including his pregnant sister.
After high school, Steve trained and had his own sub-contracting drywall business, which he ran for fifteen years until 1986. “That’s when the economy bottomed out. I’m not sure if it’s as bad now, but I can only imagine,” he says.