Family and friends of Mayville man say his death is a massive loss for car world community

Family and friends are remembering a Mayville car collector who took his own life during a police standoff as a loving family man, and a friend who was always there for others.

Steve and Tammy Volla have a vast collection of many things, including cars that are restored and in top condition. Dave Wallis / The Forum
Steve Volla with his wife Tammy inside one of his garages.
Forum file photo

MAYVILLE, N.D. — A loving family man and a friend who was always there for others.

That's how family and friends are remembering a Mayville man who took his own life during a police standoff on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

While police are not saying why they were serving a search warrant at his property, 59-year-old Steve Volla is being remembered for the loving husband, father and friend he was to the whole community, especially car collectors.

"This is a massive loss, not just for the car world, his family, the community, the communities," said Jay Thomas, host of "Rides with Jay Thomas," and a friend of Volla.

Thomas interviewed Volla for his show in 2019 , and The Forum first shared his collection with readers in 2015.


Thomas described Volla as the true definition of North Dakota nice.

"(He) always opened his place up for people, even strangers could come and take a look at his stuff," Thomas said. "He's always willing to help guys out, gals out."

Thomas remembers the day a few years ago when they went to film on Volla's farmstead, which has several garages full of collector's cars and other memorabilia.

"Steve had the lights off, he flipped them on and it was just goosebumps," Thomas said about seeing Volla's collection for his show. "We all just sat (there) with our jaws dropped," Thomas said. "I've never seen anything like this in person."

Thomas' footage shows garages full of Mopars, Challengers, Cudas. Volla's favorite ride at the time was a '71 Plymouth Barracuda.

Rare like his cars, Thomas says Volla's willingness to show off the cars in his garage is rare for this hobby.

"A lot of times these guys will amass these massive collections, but they won't show them to anybody," Thomas said. "Steve was always willing to open his place up. He put a lot of smiles on a lot faces."

Thomas is using this tragedy to reveal a secret of Volla's kindness, always helping widows of car collectors.


"Steve would buy them, and he was very fair. He did not go in and, 'OK, well this person, they are kind of in a tough situation. I'm going to get this at rock bottom.' Steve would go in and buy the vehicle or buy the collection," Thomas said.

When asked how Volla should be remembered.

"When you hear Steve's name, it puts a smile on your face and you just get that image in your mind of all those beautiful cars," Thomas said.

Volla's family released this statement:

"Steve was a loving husband, amazing father to two sons and two daughters, and such a caring friend to everyone. He was everybody’s rock. He would do anything he could in his power to help anyone in need. He cares immensely for his family, friends, neighbors, and community. He loved many, and many loved him. Steve should be remembered for the heart that beat within him. Never skipped a beat when he was helping anyone do anything and everything."

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
What To Read Next
Get Local