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1931 - 2019

Werner Steiner, 88, died on August 11, 2019. Family and friends will remember Werner as a determined, humble, earnest person. He was a man of few words but deep emotions. Werner was born May 22, 1931, in the outskirts of Holtville, where his Swiss immigrant parents ran a small dairy farm. At age 20, Werner enlisted in the army, serving in the 4th Signal Battalion in Korea and with the occupation forces in Germany. He used his VA benefits to study diesel and auto mechanics at LA's National Technical Schools before moving back to Imperial Valley and ultimately landing upon his lifelong career as a telephone repair technician for Pacific Bell. In that capacity, "Vern" received several awards, including a plaque that reads: "No Motor Vehicle Accidents, No Incidental Absence, 30 Years of Unparalleled Service - A record to respect from an honorable man." On January 12, 1963, Werner married the love of his life, Elsa, who was a Swiss immigrant. They resided in El Centro and raised three children. In his early years, Werner enjoyed bowling in a local league and won a few trophies. Later, he eagerly mastered a Swiss card game similar to bridge called Jass ('Yoss'). His kids recall being cajoled into countless Jass marathons, and although less than thrilled to sacrifice entire Sundays to church and cards, they always played because it brought their dad immense joy. Werner was a member of the Imperial Valley Swiss Club, where he and Elsa first met at a New Year's Eve dance in 1961. He was also a member of the Imperial Valley Historical Society, where he volunteered for many years doing restoration projects that highlighted early pioneers of this area. He was an avid reader and favored history books. Werner was a gifted craftsman and handyman, who strived for perfection in everything he did. Werner was completely devoted to his family, despite suffering from severe anxiety and depression stemming from a difficult childhood and wartime experiences. Taking in stride added physical challenges following a heart attack in June of last year, Werner soldiered on and insisted on living alone. He was determined to leave the world on his own terms and in his own home, without 'becoming a burden' to anyone. Werner was predeceased by his beloved wife, Elsa. He is survived by three children and their families: son, Richard (Rick) Steiner and daughter-in-law, Anne of Concord, CA; daughter, Vivian St. Shepard and son-in-law, Michael of Santa Cruz, CA; son, Walter Steiner and daughter-in-law, Estelle of Youngstown, NY. Werner is also survived by two sisters, Helen Kaelin of Zurich, Switzerland; and Ruth Steiner of Denver, CO; as well as seven grandchildren, Zachary, Emily, Isabelle, Justin, Evan, Ryan and Gabriel. There will be a graveside service with military honors at Evergreen Cemetery on Thursday, August 22, at 8 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in Werner's memory may be made to his favorite charity, . Werner's family would like to express their sincerest gratitude to kind neighbors, friends, and caregivers who helped him in recent years. We can all take comfort in knowing that he is finally at peace.
Published in Imperial Valley Press Online from Aug. 18 to Aug. 20, 2019
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