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Arthur R. Stees
1933 - 2021
Walker Mortuary, Ltd. - Freeport
321 West Main Street
Freeport, IL
Arthur R. Stees 1933—2021
Arthur Raymond Stees was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1933, the son of A. Raymond Steese and Gertrude Schoenheider Steese. He attended Peoria schools and graduated from Peoria High School and Bradley University.
He married Audrey Andres in 1953 and together they moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he attended and graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology. Ordained in 1958, he served parishes in Rockford, Peoria, Princeton, and Aurora before becoming senior pastor of First Lutheran Church in Freeport. After his retirement he served as interim pastor during vacancies at: Lena, Massbach, Warren, Derinda, Hanover, Belvidere, Stockton, Pecatonica, Durand, Schapville, Mt. Morris, Lanark, Byron, Pearl City and Stockton.
Art was a prolific writer with articles appearing in the Christian Century, Pulpit Magazine, The Lutheran, The History of Lutheranism in Stephenson County, Centennial History of First Lutheran Church, Freeport, Illinois and two historical pottery catalogs: The Art of Haviland Pottery and The French Connection, Impressionism in French and American Pottery, 1872-1900.
His church and community activities included initiating and supervising the erection of a Lutheran Social Services Senior Housing Project in Freeport (Meadow Ridge Apartments) and serving on the NW Illinois Elder Abuse Committee. He was a member of Rotary International for 30 years and was a past president and Paul Harris Fellow, and was also a board member of the YMCA. He served on the Illinois Synod Evangelism Stewardship Committees, was a former editor of the Illinois Synod newsletter, was a member of the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Board, and participated in quarterly Interim Pastors' forums.
Art served regularly as a chaplain for Holland American Lines, traveling the continents and oceans and visiting 57 countries. His hobbies included being webmaster for the Haviland Collectors International Foundation, and he was a past president of the foundation and an avid collector of Haviland pottery. The Stees collection has been displayed in art galleries in Detroit and Milwaukee. Generations of Freeport preschoolers have been entertained by Mr. Furr, Art's alter ego puppet -- most recently at Empire School in Freeport -- as have children in the parishes he served.
Art is survived by his wife, Audrey and four children: Barrick (Melinda) of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Jennifer, (partner Sam Jackson) of Freeport; Andrew (Cheryl Olson) of Chicago; Sara (Kevin) McAuliffe of Cedarville, and six grandchildren: Kayleigh King, Grace (Chris Schnaible) and Madeleine Stees, Eva Stees, and Riley and Carly (fiancé Andrew Dorman) McAuliffe. He was preceded in death by his sister, Sylvia Cooling, and two granddaughters who died in infancy, Kera McAuliffe and Kassandra King.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Center, Oregon, IL, or to FHN Hospice.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2021 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Walker Mortuary. Please note, the family will not be present to receive guests. Masks and social distancing will be required. A private family service will be held on another date. Condolences may be shared with his family at
Published by The Freeport Journal Standard from Feb. 17 to Feb. 21, 2021.
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Walker Mortuary, Ltd. - Freeport
321 West Main Street, Freeport, IL
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Walker Mortuary, Ltd. - Freeport
Sponsored by Walker Mortuary, Ltd. - Freeport.
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21 Entries
To the Stees Family, We’re so very sorry. What a nice man. And such great accomplishments. We met Andy’s dad a number of times and were touched by his kindness. Sending love.
Kathy and Mike Pilat Ensdorf
March 8, 2021
Sarah, so sorry to hear of your dad's passing. Sendint thoughts and prayers to you and the family. Love, Sue & Tracy
Sue Starnes
February 28, 2021
Todd, Ana, Brandon & Nastasia
February 27, 2021
Our sympathy to the Stees family. Pastor was a favorite minister for our family. He confirmed our daughter and married her and her husband. He also baptized our grandson. We enjoyed his many sermons over the years.
Charles and Sharon Janicke
February 25, 2021
Those who we hold in our arms for a little while we hold in our hearts forever
Ginny Mora
February 21, 2021
His humor often made my day.
Joan Morton
February 21, 2021
God’s Ministry has lost a big but gentle voice.
Marybeth Brinker
February 20, 2021
Audrey, We were so saddened to hear of Art's passing. We so enjoyed Art in our years at the Haviland Collectors International Foundation conferences. He always had a smile on his face and a wonderful sense of humor. We will forever hold Art in our memory as we view the beautiful pieces of Haviland Pottery we were able to obtain from your marvelous collection. We are sending our thoughts, prayers and sympathy to you and your family. Jim and Bonnie Kline
Jim and Bonnie Kline
February 20, 2021
Art was a joy to work with. Never cross and oh so competent. He loved people and made us feel comfortable speaking with him. Please accept my condolences.
Janice Stockman
February 19, 2021
I remember him so well, he was a wonderful man and great friend to my father and our family. We have talked about him many times over the years and loved him greatly. He will be so missed and our thoughts, love and prayers are with you! All our love and prayers, The Andersen Family, Richard, Esther, Linda and Kelli
Linda Andersen Elliott
February 19, 2021
Pastor Art was a wonderful man. I knew him for several years and worked with him on numerous occasions. A very good leader. I like his sermons and Mr. Furr always had some interesting things to say. Strength, Love, and Comfort to the Audrey and family. Denny Luke
Denny Luke
February 19, 2021
Audrey and family, our deepest sympathies to you at this difficult time. I always enjoyed the time spent with Art during our years in Rotary together. He was a great guy and fun to be with. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Audrey. RIP Art.
Jim and Deb Graham
February 18, 2021
Audrey, So sorry to read of Art's passing. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.
Nancy Sturtevant Kamm
February 18, 2021
Prayers and condolences to the family. Pastor Stees officiated our wedding in 1988. He also visited my father in the nursing home.
Vickie DeFranco
February 18, 2021
Audrey our sympathy to you and your family. He was a great man.
Roger and Vicki Kloepping
February 18, 2021
It was a privilege and honor to meet and get to know my husband’s Uncle Art. Art and his wife Audrey brought delight and laughter to us at family gatherings. Art’s joy and love touched my heart deeply. Rest in peace, sir. Praying for and thinking of the family at this time of loss.
Rebecca Cooling
February 17, 2021
Art was a wonderful man who always welcomed me into your home and family. My youth would not have been the same if I hadn't gone to band camp, met my life-long friend, Sara, and spent time with this wonderful family. My thoughts are with your family at this difficult time. Jan Pattat
Janice Pattat
February 16, 2021
"Mr. Furr" was a very special person and the best Uncle!
February 16, 2021
Carole, Marcia, Gary and Audrey, I am so sorry for your lose. Art was a wonderful man. I remember the very first time I met Art. I remember that we were all laughing and joking around and I thought...... he sure isnt "stuffy" for a minister. I enjoyed his personality.
Thinking of all of you and sending hugs and prayers.
February 16, 2021
All our love and prayers to all of you!
Christine Simms
February 16, 2021
He was such a great man. He remembered my daughter from church and always asked about her years later! Loved how he treated everyone special! So so sorry for your loss, what a gracious human being!
Jodi Rowe
February 16, 2021
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