Lester Steffens, 90, of West Union, Iowa, passed away Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, peacefully at home of natural causes.
He was born Dec. 11, 1929, on the farm near Eldorado. He was baptized, confirmed and married at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Eldorado. Lester graduated from West Union High School in 1947 and spent a couple years working on the farm and hauling cream. He joined the Air Force and served from 1951 to 1955 as an aircraft mechanic and flight crew member on B-29s with the 48th Air Transport Squadron, flying men and cargo between San Francisco and Tokyo, Japan. While in the Air Force, he became an excellent fast-pitch softball pitcher.
Lester and Leona (Goeken) Steffens were married in Eldorado on Aug. 9, 1953. Leona joined Lester at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, where their son Ray was born. After the Air Force, they moved back to the family farm near Eldorado, where three more sons, Gary, Keith and Brad were born.
Lester enjoyed raising and exhibiting registered Holsteins and was active in the dairy industry. He served on many boards, including school board, church board and notably as board president of AMPI. They lived on the farm until 1998 and then built a house in West Union.
An avid Iowa Hawkeye fan, Lester and Leona traveled to many bowl games. He enjoyed watching his sons' and grandchildren's sporting events a great deal.
Lester is survived by his brother, Reuben of Clermont, Iowa; children, Ray and Pam (Blunt) of Eldorado, Gary and Teresa (McNeil) of Eldorado, Keith and Tannis (Redpath) of Wayzata, Minn., and Brad and Melanie (Weideman) of Ely, Iowa; 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Frieda (Vatgs) Steffens; wife, Leona; sisters, Edna Steffens, Jack and Anita (Steffens) Parsons; sister-in-law, Mary Steffens; and brother, Erbie and Geri Steffens of Decorah.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service in West Union and one hour before services Saturday at the church. There will be a drive-in funeral service at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Eldorado, Iowa, with the Rev. Ginny Olson as the officiant. Attendees will remain in their cars and listen to the service on 99.5 FM. Burial will follow at St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery in Eldorado with military rites.
Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, West Union, is helping the family with the arrangements.