Bill Steiling was my grandfather, and one could not find a better man to fill those shoes. But as if that weren’t enough…he was much more. He was my role model on how to be a man, a husband and a father. He was the rock of stability during my troubled years of adolescence, and he was the anchor to which I always knew the family was safe during my many years away. He may never have known the impact he had on my life, and I never realized it until much too late.
He taught me how to be honest and unassuming. He taught by example that the greatest rewards in life were service to one’s nation, community and above all, family. He was an infinite wealth of knowledge, but always made you feel like it was you who had come up with the answer to a problem. The spirit of giving and self sacrifice loomed no larger in any other man. Acknowledging that we are all better for it, is an understatement.
Bill Steiling was also Seamen 1st Class aboard a US Navy Destroyer, during some of the most historic battles of the 20th century. Though if you brought that up, he would probably look away bashfully and steer the conversation towards your latest accomplishments. That he comes from “the Greatest Generation” only serves to honor that term, based not merely on his service during war, but in how he raised and shepherded the family sitting here today. He will be missed dearly, but his strengths have been passed to us…….through blood or friendship….and I can think of no greater gift from him. There is also not a greater duty upon us, than to honor his memory than by continuing to pass those gifts down to our families.