03/06/2012 08:03 EST | Updated 05/06/2012 05:12 EDT

Music man "Mr. Steve" remembered fondly

The man his employees knew simply as "Mr. Steve" was laid to rest Tuesday, 47 years after opening his iconic music store in Old Montreal at the age of 19.

Steve Kirman died on March 3 in hospital following a brief illness. He was 65.

"He was pivotal" to Montreal's music scene, his friend and former employee Albert Chambers remembered.

"Steve's was the one-stop shop where you could literally walk in" and find anything, Chambers said. "You could buy sheet music. You could buy woodwind instruments. You could buy accordions. You could buy harmonicas. You could buy tuners. Everything was available at Steve's."

Before Steve's, stores that sold instruments had them behind glass and wouldn't let prospective buyers try them out before making a purchase.

"Steve always had his guitars on the floor, ready to be picked up by a musician, tried, played and purchased," recalled one employee. "If they couldn't play it, they wouldn't be able to buy it."

Others remembered how Steve's music store was the first place musicians would visit when they came into Montreal –everyone from Sting to the Police, not to mention all the big names on the Quebec music scene, from Daniel Boucher to Robert Charlebois.

"A lot of people are in shock," said another employee. "A lot of people are feeling sorry for him and for us, because we've been here with him for so long."

Kirman is survived by his wife Lea and children Michael and Heidi, his four grandchildren and three siblings.