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Helen Steffes

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Helen Steffes Obituary
Steffes, Helen, Athlete. Movie star. Hall of Fame Inductee. A woman never afraid to follow her heart and always willing to argue with an umpire. Helen Steffes, of Harper Woods, joined God’s team on September 13, 2014. Helen loved homegrown tomatoes, babies and women who knew how to throw a baseball. She hated the Detroit Lions during every losing season, always screaming instructions through the TV at whoever was coaching the Tigers and would stay up until all hours of the night watching every Red Wings game. As a devout Catholic and avid sports fan, Helen spent much of her youth writing “I will not play ball with the boys”, hundreds of times on the chalkboard in her Catholic grade school. Despite her parent’s wishes, in 1945, she began her professional athletic career with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. As a third baseman for the Rockford Peaches, as featured in the movie “A League of Their Own”. Helen won the World Series and played professional baseball until 1950. In 1951, she exchanged the baseball diamond for a diamond ring as she married Donald Steffes. She raised six children, while never revealing her groundbreaking contributions to the women’s sports history. In 1988, Helen was inducted into the National Baseball hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, along with her teammates. She dedicated her life to coaching young women, including her own two daughters, until her coaching career ended in 2010 at the age of 86. She is survived by her brother, Joseph Filarski; sons, Thomas, Robert, and Martin Steffes, daughter, Diane Grabowski; fifteen grandchildren and fourteen great- grandchildren; all of whom she could beat in a pick-up game of baseball until she was in her 80’s. She is eternally reunited with her husband and biggest fan, Donald and is predeceased by brothers, Richard and Cass Filarski; sisters, Jean (Leonard) Chrostowski, Alice (Gilbert) Dietzler, and Grace Filarski, son, Kenneth Steffes, daughter Sharon Aluzzo and granddaughters Kelly Knudson and Renee Aluzzo. Visitation at the Arthur J. Van Lerberghe Funeral Home, 30600 Harper Ave, St. Clair Shores, on Monday 3-9 p.m. with a Scripture service at 7 p.m. Funeral Mass at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Tuesday 9:30 a.m. and instate 9 a.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Police Athletic League to support the Detroit youth who loved sports the way Helen did.
Published in Daily Tribune on Sept. 14, 2014
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