John Lawrence Steffen(1938 - 2013)

Steffen, John Lawrence SAN DIEGO -- John Lawrence Steffen, 75, died August 28, 2013, in San Diego, CA. He was born July 6, 1938, in El Dorado, KS, to Dr. Lawrence F. and Aileen M. Steffen. He is survived by a brother, Joseph M. Steffen, Kansas City, MO, a brother, James C. Steffen, St. Louis, MO, a sister, Rosemary Perrin, Parkville, MO, and a brother, William Francis Steffen, St. Louis, MO; an aunt; cousins; nieces and nephews; grand- nieces and grand- nephews. He was reared in Kansas City, MO, and attended parochial school and Rockhurst High School. After two years at Rockhurst College, he entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuit) seminary at Florissant, MO. While with the Jesuits, he received a B.A. in Philosophy from Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL, and taught for three years at St. Louis University High School. He left the Jesuits three years prior to ordination, eventually enrolling at Indiana University where he received an M.A. in French, with a year of postgraduate study at the Sorbonne. He taught high school briefly before switching careers and becoming an Employment Counselor for the State of Missouri in Kansas City. A few years after that he began his long career as a federal employee, working first for the Social Security Administration in Kansas City, MO, and Washington, DC. He transferred to San Diego and a civilian position with the Department of the Navy as a Management Analyst in the early 1980s. He worked in this position until he retired in 2000. A feared sandlot baseball power slugger and high school table tennis champion in his youth, in retirement he exercised his considerable verbal skills in writing and editing two newsletters. He also did volunteer work for several different agencies, tutoring reading, visiting the elderly, and driving senior citizens to doctors' appointments. He was an active participant in, and benefited from the assistance of, the Tierra Santa Project community and the LiveWell San Diego senior center. He was a caring and attentive host to out-of- town visitors and relatives, going out of his way to make sure they had a positive, enjoyable experience. He had a keen sense of justice and fairness and contributed his time, energy, and financial support to social and political causes reflecting these values. He loved listening to the "golden oldies" sounds of his youth of the late '40s and '50s and even the music of the disco era of the '70s. John had to contend with a number of medical issues in the last 20 years of his life. Sometimes he got down, but he rarely complained and generally faced various illnesses with a combination of courage, stoicism, optimism, and resilience that allowed him to adapt and continue to create a satisfying life for himself. Despite these adversities, he often expressed his gratitude for the exceptional advantages he had been given in life, starting with his parents and his education. John was thoughtful, generous, and compassionate. He had a gift for friendship, with a rare ability to truly listen to, understand, and encourage others. A special and heartfelt thank you to his many friends, too numerous to mention, with whom he shared many good times and much laughter and who were always there for him when he needed them. He will be greatly missed but lovingly remembered by all who knew him. No services are planned. John willed his remains to the Body Donation Program of UCSD Medical School to be used in the service of science and education.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Sept. 12, 2013