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Theodor Steilen


1943 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Theodor Steilen Obituary
Steilen, Theodor
Theodor "Ted" Hermann Steilen, age 74, of Orlando, Florida passed away on December 16, 2017. He spent his last remaining days surrounded by his family at the home of his son, Scott Steilen, in St. Simons Island, Georgia. He was diagnosed in late November with stage four pancreatic cancer. The cancer was too far advanced to treat, and, mercifully, he did not endure a prolonged period of suffering and reduced quality of life. Ted was born on September 11, 1943 in Wissen, Germany. He left home at age 16 to become a chef apprentice at the Excelsior Hotel in Cologne, Germany. He then immigrated to the United States when he was 19 years old. He started in Dallas, Texas as a fry cook at the Sheraton Hotel. Eventually, he worked his way up to become the youngest General Manager in Sheraton history (at the time) at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. From Chicago, he moved to Columbus, Ohio and started a small hotel chain, eventually growing to 20 properties. After exiting the hotel business, he moved to Orlando, Florida in 1992 and started a temporary corporate housing business. He sold that business in 2009 and retired. For the past 20 years, he was an active and passionate member of the St. Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park, Florida, and sang in the choir. Ted's life embodied the true American dream, and he relished the opportunity he was given. He came to the United States with nothing and worked hard to make a great life for his family. He was drafted and served in the Army, and became a United States citizen. He never forgot his roots and made annual visits to Wissen to stay in touch with family and friends in his beloved hometown. His life was also marked by two other traits: kindness and caring. He was always there to help those in need, even if it meant giving up something of his own as a result. In Columbus, he co-founded the Central Ohio Soccer Association over 35 years ago – combining his passion for soccer and creating opportunities for kids. In Orlando, he was a valuable part of his church's mission efforts to their sister parish in Haiti. He organized and led the annual Christmas Livestock Catalog, which provided livestock to families in Haiti. He visited Haiti and played an instrumental role in a poultry development project. He also organized, cooked and delivered food once a month for the Coalition of the Homeless in Orlando representing St. Margaret Mary parish, and participated in nearly every giving initiative of his parish. He was a supporter of the arts wherever he lived, and found tremendous joy in singing in his church choir. He is survived by his son, Scott Steilen (Marybeth) of St. Simons Island, Georgia, and his daughter Tricia Johnston of Lindenhurst, Illinois. He was the proud grandfather of five grandchildren: Brett, Tyler, Madison, Ryan, and Sophie. He is also survived by three sisters in Germany. He was preceded in death by his sister, Hani, and his brother, Karl. A celebration of Ted's life will be held on January 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm at St. Margaret Mary Church, 526 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789, followed by a reception in the church hall. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to one of three worthy organizations in Ted's name: St. Margaret Mary's Haiti Project in Winter Park, Florida; Hospice of the Golden Isles in Brunswick, Georgia, who took wonderful care of him; or, The Suzanne Wright Foundation, an organization launched to increase the awareness of, and fight against, pancreatic cancer.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Dec. 28, 2017
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