Robert Steingreaber


Robert James Steingreaber, Sr., 72, of Keosauqua, died Saturday May 27, 2023, having been brought back home to Van Buren County by his family.

Bob was born May 29, 1950, to Darlene and Robert W. Steingreaber, Jr. in Burlington, IA. He was a farm kid, learning a work ethic and a sense of family that would stay with him all his life. He learned to fish with his grandpa and by 10, he and friend Tunney, would walk the 3/8th mile to fish the Mississippi. Bob introduced fishing to his kids – first taking Jim and a friend’s son, Mark, to stand along the river when the bell sounded at Bennett Spring, MO. His first grandson received a fly-fishing pole. Many, many fishing trips to places like Decorah, IA; Bighorn River, MT; northern MN; Canadian fly in trip; and he even threw in a line off the dock of Lake Cornelia.

He graduated from Burlington High School (1968) and was recognized on the last day for having perfect attendance. This meant lunch had been 2 egg salad sandwiches, 2 bags of Sterzings and 2 chocolate milks every day for all three years.

His plan was to receive his bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from IA State and become a conservation agent. Upon graduation in 1972, there were no jobs available. He took a turn and started with education classes while teaching science and serving as Principal for Breckenridge H.S. in Missouri.

Bob was an excellent teacher and leader, and he found a new passion. He came to Van Buren Co. Schools in 1975 and taught physiology, chemistry, and math. He served as Activities Director until 1991 and was the school district Technology Coordinator until 1997.

He was always a learner and was involved in three innovative teaching programs while collaborating with colleagues.

1992-97, he wrote the proposal for Van Buren with his colleague Evelyn Williams for Van Buren to be part of a five-state Dept. of Energy program – Adventures in Supercomputing. He served as lead teacher, networking administrator and hardware troubleshooter for the school. The program brought the first set of computers to Van Buren in 92, and it was early days of the internet – “gophering” for research results from the University of Minnesota, before Netscape was added as a browser.

1993-1995 Bob worked with colleague Richard Gardner in the Conservation Biology in Science and Mathematics program at the University of Montana, Missoula.

1995, 97 He was part of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship with colleague and best friend, Jeff Roe, at Princeton University, studying Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Science.

During parts of these experiences, the family traveled with him, especially enjoying the time in Missoula. Will and Anne climbed the M with their dad and explored many National Parks over the years.

His Girls Basketball and Track team were important to Bob. He coached both five-player and six-player IA Girls basketball. There were good teams and an overall record of 259-168 during his 21 years of coaching at VB. The 1980 team finished with an 18-3 record while 85 team was 20-2. 1980, 85 and 92 teams went to regionals, each time finishing just one game from qualifying for the state tournament. In 1986, he was the girls Coach of the Year, but said in a newspaper quotation, “In my opinion, bench coaching is vastly overrated on almost every level. The big thing is skill development and the program’s development. The kids can make you look very smart or not too smart…. The players, they’re the ones who play the game. I just try to get the most out of their ability.” In recent days, former athletes have shared he also “gave them the opportunity to run!”

As a leader, he served both as the Van Buren Teachers Union President and in later years, as the Van Buren School Board President.

He received his master’s in educational administration from Drake University in 1997 and took a position as Coordinator, Technology Services at Southern Prairie AEA from 1997 – 2001 and as Coordinator, Instructional Services: Resources at Great Prairie AEA from 2001 until he retired in 2010. He was Chair of the Iowa State Media Directors and served as President of NAMTC – National Association of Media and Technology Centers.

After retiring, he also had more time to fish, hunt and work with his bird dogs. He spent time with his All Over the Hill Gang who went on bird-hunts and talked over campfires. Over the years, Bob has had many good friends who have traveled with him and we want to thank so many of them for also finding our porch these past few months to visit.

He was on several boards including the Van Buren Conservation Board. This year marked 30 years of service on this board, and he has been Chairman since 2003. He loved the work and working with members of the community to highlight the parks and opportunities nature provides. Bob was an avid outdoorsman, hunting and hiking much of Van Buren County as well as traveling and going up the mountains, at least six times to our count, with his friend Jeff.

Bob is survived by his wife, Kristin. They were a team in education and raising their family together. He was a very proud dad to three children: Robert James “Jim”, Jr. (Tori); Will (Lauren) and Anne (Landon) Plagge. He decided in 1996 to stop coaching and wrote, “It’s time for me to go. I think there is a time to leave. I have a couple of young children I want to see play”. He spent a lot of time following the interests of his kids and loved every minute of it. We can hear him cheering on Will at cross country meets and cheering for the Bears with his daughter Anne.

Three grandchildren: Jimmy (Liz); Kylie (Joel) Hugo and Cassidy. He was looking forward to being a great grandpa.

His siblings: Elaine (Tom) Shipley; David (Jean) and Mary (Jim) Olson and their families; many Thronson in-laws and families.

A memorial service will be held at 3pm on Saturday, June 3 at the Congregational Church in Keosauqua with Herb Shafer and Marcie Atwood providing a message and music. There will be a reception and gathering at the Beach House Lodge at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park starting at 5pm.

Online condolences can be shared at Donations can be directed to Van Buren Co Conservation and mailed to the Cranston Funeral Home, P.O. Box 189, Fairfield, IA 52556.

We were stunned by his cancer diagnosis last summer and he had fought hard. He was a good man and enjoyed his life to the fullest. He gave to his family and community, and we are missing him!

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