William John (‘Bill’) Steinbar, Jr., age 82, died peacefully surrounded by family members and under hospice care at Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, ND on Sunday, January 9, 2011. In declining health for the past year, he was hospitalized briefly and died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Bill was born January 6, 1929 in Grand Forks St. Michael’s Hospital to William J. Steinbar, Sr. and Alvina Novak Steinbar. Bill inherited his father’s love of automobiles and mechanics from a very early age. In 1941, at age 13, he was the 3rd place winner in the All-American Soapbox Derby. He also collected, polished, and restored a 1940 Packard, and built an antique kit-car “The Gazelle” which remained his passion. He was a taxi-driver in East Grand Forks as soon as he was able to drive. A 1946 graduate of EGF Sacred Heart High School, he joined the army in Grand Forks on Oct 3rd, 1946 and was a member of the Occupation Forces in the 11th Airborne. He was stationed in Japan from February 1947 until February of 1948 where he was a paratrooper and proud to have made 28 jumps.
Bill married Grand Forks resident Grace Eleanor Tuttle on May 20, 1952 in St. Michael’s Church, GF and they had three daughters who survive him – Deborah Ann (Mrs. Wm. Petersen) Steinbar of Bemidji, MN, Laurie Jean (Joel) Arnason of GF, and Mary Beth (Rick) Vanyo of Circle Pines, MN – and seven grandchildren.
His professional career was spent as a fireman and engineer on the Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroads and a volunteer fireman in his hometown of EGF.
After his first wife’s death from cancer in 1988, he married Rosemarie Metcalf O’Leary, a Sacred Heart graduate and EGF native, on January 27, 1990, and added another eight step-daughters and two step-sons to his household: Delores (Keith Anderson) of EGF, Colleen (Dean) Stinar of EGF, Maureen O’Leary of Drayton, ND, Peggy (Kevin) Slator of White Bear Lake, MN, Mary Kay (Dan) Stinar of Alvarado, MN, Erin (Gary) Theisen of GF, Sharon (Tom) Hallaway of EGF, Brigid (Gary) Cariveau of EGF, Michael (Wendy) O’Leary of EGF, and Sean (Angela) O’Leary of EGF. They survive him along with 35 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Bill was a perfectionist with his home and lawn (even being awarded ‘lawn of the week’). He was a lover of animals, particularly his childhood cocker spaniel ‘Skippy’, and 2 very special cats ‘Buttons’ and ‘Birchmont’. Bill was a friendly, sociable, and ‘stubborn Bohemian’ who will be sorely missed by his many family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Irene Gray.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:00am at Sacred Heart with visitation one hour prior to the service.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 13, 2011 from 5-7pm with a wake service at 6:30pm at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in EGF where Bill was a life-long member and member of the choir.
Internment will be held this Spring in Calvary Cemetery, GF.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Sacred Heart Church and Schools.
Online Guestbook: www.stennesfuneralhome.com
Arrangements by Stennes Funeral Home, East Grand Forks, Minnesota