American Patriotic 10

Gene Steffe

June 6, 1940 ~ January 24, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old
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Gene Steffe Obituary

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Merlin Eugene “Gene” Steffe, born on June 6, 1940, in Bronson, Michigan, passed away peacefully on January 24, 2024, surrounded by his loving family. He was the son of Alvin Steffe and Hazel May (Sommerlott) Steffe. When he was a child, he moved with his father to Brimfield, Indiana, and attended Rome City High School in Rome City, Indiana, graduating with the class of 1958. Shortly after graduation, Gene enlisted in the U.S. Army and left for bootcamp with the 82nd Airborne Division in July 1958. 
Gene received orders for his first overseas assignment in Germany where he was stationed for four and a half years. This assignment changed his life as one day he spotted a long blond ponytail at a dance in Wiesbaden and instantly fell in love with a beautiful young German girl, Waltraud “Val” Stoehr. After a short courtship, Gene and Val were married on October 4, 1962, and recently celebrated 61 years of marriage. 

In 1965, Gene received orders for his next assignment, Fort Benning, Georgia, and shortly after relocation received orders for his first tour in Vietnam, where he served for one full year. He returned to Fort Benning for a short time before being deployed for his second tour in Vietnam, where he served for six months. Gene served a third tour in Vietnam, from 1968 to 1969. After these three tours in Vietnam, Gene received orders for Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Here, Gene attended college at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Gene then received orders for another tour in Germany, where he was stationed for five years. During this time in Germany, he and Val greatly enjoyed participating in Volksmarches. Gene and his family were restationed to Fort Bragg for another year before he finally retired after 21 years of dedicated military service. 
At this time, Gene, Val, and their three daughters, Karin, Sylvia, and Sherri, moved to Wolcottville, Indiana, which was closer to Gene’s family. Gene was hired into the United States Postal Service, where he began his second career, and after 23 years of employment, he retired again; this time for good. 

In retirement, Gene and Val enjoyed spending time on Dallas Lake, taking dance classes with friends, and vacationing several winters in Florida. He and Val were long-time members of the Brimfield United Methodist Church, and he greatly enjoyed helping at church events. Gene’s hobbies included fishing, genealogy, and most noticeably, reading. It was a rare day that he didn’t have a book nearby, oftentimes simultaneously reading two. Gene was also an active volunteer at the Helping Hands in Rome City, Indiana, for eleven years, but his greatest joy was spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. 

Gene is survived by his loving wife, Val; three daughters, Karin (Bob) Morr, Sylvia Steffe, and Sherri (Wally) Wheeler; seven grandchildren, Paul and Ben Gillette, Zeke, Charissa, and Zoe Meschberger, Brianna and Avery Wheeler; two great grandchildren, Xavia and Tiernan; brothers Frank Williams, Doug Williams, Dave Williams, and Ken Williams; sisters Teena (Mike) Rymer, Terri (Larry) Kline, and Melody (Vaughn) Norton; several cousins, nieces, nephews, and many, many lifelong friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant daughter, Carmin, a son-in-law, Brian McKenzie, a brother, Ron Williams, and a stepsister, Linda Beale.    

Visitation will be held Sunday, January 28, 2024 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM at Hite Funeral Home in Kendallville.
Funeral services will be held Monday, January 29, 2024 at 11:00 AM at Brimfield United Methodist Church with Pastor Jerry Burghduff officiating the service.
Burial with military honors will take place at Orange Cemetery near Rome City.
Memorial donations may be made to Helping Hands in Rome City.
Arrangements entrusted to Hite Funeral Home. 

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January 28, 2024

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Hite Funeral Home
403 South Main Street
Kendallville, IN 46755

Funeral Service
January 29, 2024

11:00 AM
Brimfield United Methodist Church
Summit Street
Brimfield, IN 46725

Burial with Military Honors
January 29, 2024

12:30 PM
Orange Cemetery
North 175 East
Rome City, IN 46784


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