Steve Silbas, former owner of Casbeers, passed away this week at 51-years-old. With his late wife Barbara Wolfe, the couple ran the iconic SA venue Casbeers, known for its amiable service and treatment of performers.
Steve and Barbara ran the original Casbeers on Blanco Road from 1999 to 2008. From 2008 until closing in 2011, the couple ran Casbeers at the Church (later changed to San Antone Cafe) at 1150 South Alamo. After a bout with cancer, Barbara passed away in December at 53.
After hospitalization two weeks ago for a heart attack and stroke, Steve was moved to hospice care over the weekend. Silbas had diabetes, required dialysis, and was on the waiting list for a kidney donor.
We spoke to several people who worked with Steve and Barbara during the Casbeers run, hearing only the kindest of words.
Greg Goodman, of Sexto Soul, said "Steve set out to do what he envisioned and in my opinion, created one of the most unique music venues in San Antonio. His and Barbara's generosity brought in a lot of local, regional and national acts. Casbeers was a great venue all because of the type of people Steve and Barbara were. It was heartbreaking when Barbara died a few months ago and now that Steve is no longer with us, I feel some comfort that they have been reunited. They will be very missed in the San Antonio community."
Joe Reyes, of Buttercup and Demitasse, said that "[Steve] and Barbara treated each one of the musicians that played at Casbeers like family. They booked with their hearts and brought many great americana/roots music acts to San Antonio who normally would have skipped our town. The Silos, the Hacienda Brothers, Gurf Morlix, Ray Bonneville; world class acts had a home here in San Antonio thanks to Steve and Barbara's love and efforts."
"A lot of people are in it for the money and lord knows they should have been in it more for the money than they were," said Jim Beal, former music writer at the San Antonio Express News. "They booked with their heart. It's rare that you find venue owners and operators who love the music as much as them."
"Steve and Barbara treated artists like family," said friend Jerry Clayworth, who went through dialysis at the same time as Steve. As they were on the donor wait list, Steve told Jerry that "even if Steve could make a difference by letting people know how much they could give—literally saving a life while living fulfilled, healthy lives of there own—it'd be worth it."
Visitation services will occur tomorrow, Thursday, April 10 from 5-pm at Sunset Memorial Park (1701 Austin Hwy). The funeral service will be held Friday, April 11 at 3pm, followed by burial, also at Sunset Memorial Park.
When she passed in December, Barbara's ashes were cremated. They will be interned along with Steve. The couple chose Sunset Memorial in part because it also interns SA legend Doug Sahm. Rest in Peace, Steve.