A memorial service for Rev. Norman L Steffen, 82, Lawrence, KS, will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 17, 2010, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lawrence, Kansas. Private burial will precede the memorial service at the Stoney Point Cemetery in southern Douglas County.
Norman was born on August 29, 1928, in Omaha, NE, the 3rd son of Otto & Hulda Jetter Steffen. He died peacefully, surrounded by family members on Friday, September 10, 2010.
As a young man, Norman attended First Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and was an all-star catcher and running back at Omaha (NE) Tech High where he was voted most likely to succeed. He began his college education on a Rector Scholarship at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. There he met the love of his life and eventual wife Kathryn Pierce.
After one year at DePauw in Delta Chi fraternity, he decided that, for him, questions of faith and meaning had more importance than chemical engineering. He transferred to St. John’s Lutheran College in Winfield, Kansas, to begin pre-seminary training. He graduated in 1949 and continued his studies at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Kay and Norm married on December 22, 1951, in her hometown of Minneapolis. After completing his vicarage in Bismarck, North Dakota, he graduated from the seminary in 1955.
Rev. Steffen’s career in campus ministry touched five decades beginning in 1954 in Davis, California, where he pastored a mission congregation, Davis Lutheran Church, and did campus ministry work. In 1965 he answered a call to Lawrence to a campus congregation, first known as University Lutheran Church, which later merged with Immanuel Lutheran Church. In 1977, he answered a call to serve a town-gown congregation in DeKalb, IL for another 13 years before retiring to Lawrence in 1990. In retirement, he continued interim ministry, including six months as a “snowbird minister” in McAllen, TX. He and Kay were active in senior and campus ministry and served as a host family to several foreign students at KU.
From 1965 until 1974, Rev. Steffen met the challenge of serving on the Human Relations Commission of the City of Lawrence at a difficult time in the city’s history. Both as a member and as chairman, he worked to ease racial tensions by promoting dialog and understanding. His efforts advanced equal access to facilities and resources and promoted fair housing/employment ordinances. His family believes this is one of his most significant contributions and witnesses of his faith.
He was a member of the Ministerial Association, the Lawrence Tennis Association, and played in the slow pitch softball church league. He loved dancing with Kay and attending musical, athletic and other performances. He was intimately involved with his family and officiated at its weddings and baptisms. He took great joy and pride in observing the growth and achievements of all its members.
Survivors include his beloved wife Kay; four daughters, Nancy and Fred Anderson, of Las Cruces, NM; Carolyn Steffen and Julie Burik, of Shawnee, KS; Suzanne Steffen and Bob Hyland, of Kansas City, MO; Janice Steffen and Jan Madlock, of Bonner Springs, KS; a son, David Steffen and Jill Kerr, of Carrboro, NC; a sister, Marilyn Seitz, of CA, thirteen grandchildren (Avery and Stephanie Demby, Jaimee and Earnest Harris, Jessie Steffen, Emerald Anderson, Ivy Anderson, Georgia Steffen, Zoemma Steffen, Louisa Steffen, Natalie Hyland, Liam Hyland, Mercedes Steffen Madlock, Hailie Steffen Madlock, Keani Steffen Madlock), and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Arnold and Paul, and a granddaughter, Leilah Steffen.
The family will greet friends from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, September 16, 2010, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.
The family suggests memorials in his name to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lawrence, the Alzheimer’s Association, or a hospice of your choice. These may be sent in care of the mortuary.