Michael Jay Steinberg
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Michael Jay Steinberg

Michael Jay Steinberg, 79, died quietly at his home in hospice care in Lansing, after a brief illness, on December 9, 2019 in the company of his loving wife of 56 years, Carole Steinberg Berk, and his brother, Alan Steinberg.

Mike grew up in Rockaway Beach, New York, the eldest son of Estelle and Jack Steinberg. An avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan from boyhood on, Mike pitched for his high school baseball team, played softball until his mid-40s, and later wrote about his baseball experiences and what they taught him about life in many critically-acclaimed essays and books.

Mike earned a BA in English from Hofstra University, a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Western Michigan University. He was a Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State for 30 years until his retirement in 2000. A widely respected writer, editor, and teacher of creative nonfiction, Mike taught in low-residency MFA programs in Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts; he taught part-time at Western Michigan University, and led writing workshops nation-wide and abroad.

Mike was an award-winning author of numerous books and essays, including Still Pitching; Living in Michigan, Dreaming Manhattan; Word Painting; and Elegy for Ebbets. He co-edited a major nonfiction anthology widely used in college writing programs. Additionally, he directed seven plays in the Lansing area.

One of Mike's proudest accomplishments was being the founding editor of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, published since 1999 by Michigan State University Press to mentor, promote and publish writers of creative nonfiction. Students and colleagues regard his supportive conversations as among the most influential of their careers.

A lover of culture and nature, Mike and Carole would retreat to their cottage in Northern Michigan to relax together and engage in their artistic pursuits. Carole, and all of Mike's many friends, are grateful for the memories Mike filled with love, adventure, travel, music, theater, and creativity.

Celebrations of Mike's life will take place in the spring in both Lansing and Northport, Michigan.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Lansing State Journal from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, 2020.
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2 entries
June 18, 2020
My condolences to the family. Rest in Eternal Peace
Millie Tirado
January 28, 2020
Carole...I am so sorry to read of Mike's death; he passed away too young. Please know I am thinking of you
Judith steinberg Labovitz
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