Steve Wyrostek Jr.|
Steve L. Wyrostek, Jr., 75, of Fairmont City, Ill., born on June 8, 1940 in East St. Louis, Ill., passed away on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, after suffering a major stroke and waging a courageous two-week battle attempting a recovery.
The family kept a near constant 24-hour vigil with him over that time, holding his hand and telling him stories to let him know that he was loved and would never be left alone. He was unable to get out very much the last chapter or two of his life, but was basically a "big-kid," with a generous soul and a huge heart. He meant so much to the many who knew him.
Steve was a graduate of East St. Louis High School (Class of 1958), and was valedictorian. A three-sport letterman, his nickname, "Legs," as friends would sometimes call him, came from his jumping ability in basketball. In baseball, he earned the title of city batting king with a .479 average. His uncle, John played professional ball from 1940-1951; we're sure that Steve learned a trick or two from him on batting technique.
Steve earned a full scholarship to Mizzou, graduating with a BS in electrical engineering in 1962, and then went on to earn his MS. His initial emphasis was electrical engineering, but he later branched into computer programming. Throughout the 60's, he was employed by aerospace companies such as General Dynamics in San Diego; then later, McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing, living in places such as Louisiana and Huntington, Beach, Calif. He directly performed work on the Saturn V moon rocket program. Later on, he worked for IBM in Parsippany, New Jersey, in Jefferson City for the State of Missouri, and finally for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis.
He loved the outdoors, enjoyed surfing while in California, taking trips to hike the forests to see the giant redwood trees, and even tried his hand at skiing in the mountains.
Steve grew up in a very close-knit family, with parents Steve and Edith and younger brother Tony, who absolutely idolized Steve growing up. Steve would stop in St. Louis several times every year, and Tony fondly remembers Steve taking the time to take him to visit the zoo, the planetarium, to the top of the arch, and to watch the old "Cardiac Cardinals" football team and the baseball Cardinals at Busch stadium, and the Globetrotters at the Arena. Other common adventures were boating trips to Carlyle Lake, trips to Monks Mound to climb the stairs, and trips to play pinball in the arcade in front of the old Save-Mart store, or to grab a burger at Burger Chef.
Steve cast an imposing sight as he walked by at 6'7" and 250 pounds, but by all measures he was a gentle giant with a huge heart, to which everyone who knew him would attest. No matter what he was going through, Steve never complained. He was so good-natured and of cheerful demeanor, and he always wanted to make those around him laugh, always telling a joke. Whenever he heard of bad news on TV or of someone suffering, he would get a really long sad look on his face that showed he was bothered. He loved nature and all animals, especially the family dachshund, Rusty.
Steve never married. He was preceded in death by his mother, Edith E., nee Kubich, Wyrostek; and his father, Steve Wyrostek, Sr.
Steve is survived by his brother, Tony (Wendy) Wyrostek; numerous cousins, Jean Eads, John (Emma Jean) Wyrostek, Tom (Susie) Wyrostek, Mary Peterson, Ann Van DeVusse Wyrostek, and Barbara (Bob) Smith; nephew, Patrik May; and nieces, Darian Braun (children Alice and Aiven), and Ashleigh (Kenny) Deatherage.
Memorials may be made to the American Stroke Foundation or any local animal shelter.
Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.kasslyfuneral.com.
Visitation: Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, at Kassly Mortuary, Fairview Heights, Ill.
Funeral: Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, at Kassly Mortuary Chapel, Fairview Heights, Ill.
KASSLY MORTUARY, Fairview Heights, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat from Feb. 14 to Feb. 15, 2016