American Patriotic 10

Norman C. Steil

June 27, 2019
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Norman Carl “Norm” Steil, 78, of Dubuque, IA went to join friends and loved ones in Heaven on Thursday, June 27th, 2019 after a long and hard-fought battle with stupid cancer.

A Celebration of his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 1, 2019 at Leonard Funeral Home and Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Rd. Dubuque, with Pastor Dennis Schmitt officiating. Burial of Norm and Minnie will immediately follow in Dubuque Memorial Gardens with the presentation of the Four Fives by the Dubuque Fire Department. Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory. 

Norm was born in Asbury IA to Clem & Mathilda (Behnke) Steil on October 4, 1940. Norm spent early childhood with his 8 siblings on the farm until moving to the Carter Rd. area. He attended Dbq. Senior High. He served in the US Army National Guard. He then returned to Dubuque to create his legacy.

Norm married Mary Ann "Minnie" Dolter on January 22, 1966 at Holy Trinity Church and they spent nearly 50 years together raising 3 daughters and living life. Minnie sadly left us in 2014 and it was up to the girls after that to take care of Dad until his passing.

He joined the Dubuque Fire Department in 1966 and never looked back. He knew a good thing. He retired after 31 years of service to the City of Dubuque in 1997. 

How do we describe our dad: hard worker, inspirational, inventive, genius, mentor, honest, perfectionist, bullheaded & stubborn, demanding of respect, strong willed, calling a spade a spade, anal with a touch of OCD, talented beyond belief, jack of all trades and master of many, "Stormin' Norman" and of course " our Dad, Grandpa and friend".

The fire departments schedule offered the luxury of time, a schedule allowing him to do all sorts of side jobs. He was able to help at his sister & brother in laws farm, drive school bus and put his love of carpentry and construction to work. He and fellow fire fighter & friend Jim Weitz spent years doing odd jobs. Later in life he worked with his brother, Jim Steil, together they were a highly sought-after team. Together, they created a local reputation for doing meticulous carpentry work, often incorporating innovative ideas to show off their level of expertise. 

Norm was always improving his home, helping others with odd jobs and was the one SO many went to for advice on projects. He could fix damn near anything…he may have had to do some head scratching, but loved a challenge and rarely did a problem present itself that he couldn’t solve and fix. Dad was the master of ideas & inventions that made things just plain better. A staunch and vocal critic of anything designed in a "piss poor" manner. Something he would groom his girls to be able to identify late on in life....because being off 1/16th of an inch matters! His girls would come up with crazy ideas of stuff we wanted built or fixed and after much grumbling (no seriously, a lot of grumbling) and saying it couldn’t be done, he would create what we thought we wanted, except he would make it better than what we had envisioned. He would point out the initial design flaws in our idea and then show us how he fixed them. Spending time with Norm was always a learning experience. He just had that knack for knowing a lot about a lot. Never arrogant but knowing the right way it should be done and wasn’t shy of calling you out when your ideas were not up to his standards! 

Norm valued family. Minnie & Norm raised 3 daughters, and no one can dispute they provided love, stability and common sense values to each of them. He was an amazing teacher and mentor to his grandson Kyle and his son in law Jeff, 30+ years of being their go to person when they needed advice, guidance or a friend to just hang with.

He enjoyed so many great times throughout his life with great friends (typically involving cold beer). The stories he told…insert smiley face. The boys from the Durango area who he spent his teens with, raising hell, taking chances & living it up. The Jansen clan in the Sherrill area, cousins & partners in crime. The hunting trips are epic tales to remember. Fishing up in Danbury, Canada and down south. Guys he hung with at the taverns, worked with at the fire station, and fellow tradesman. Road trips with Stomp. Seeing Sequoia's in Yosemite with Sandy. Wonderful neighbors whom he valued as fantastic friends & the weekly West Dubuque breakfast with Jim Hirsch & the ladies. 

Norm is survived by daughters, who will miss him the most: Sheila (Jeff) Vandermillen, Lisa (Tim) Mueller of Dubuque and Sandy Steil of Iowa City, IA. His grandson and pride & joy Kyle Chase (Cassie Cannon); siblings Jerry (Gloria) Steil, Jim (Jean) Steil, Vern (Elaine) Steil, Alvina Murphy, Mary Ann Derouin (Twirp) & sister in law Jude Steil. Sister in laws Donna (Jim) Hirsch, Carol Karlin, Ruth (Roger) Konrardy and brother in law Dick (Barb) Dolter, step grandson David Mueller & many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his awesome wife, our mom "Minnie", his parents, mother & father in law Leo & Leona (Schroeder) Dolter, brother Lenny Steil, sisters Elanor Lombardi & Evie Beecher, brother in laws Virgil Murphy, Don Derouin, Buck Beecher & Don Lombardi.

"That just about does it, don't it" Vern Gosdin (the Voice)

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