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Robert Glen Steffensen

June 23, 1926 ~ April 15, 2018 (age 91)

Robert Glen Steffensen passed away Sunday, April 15, 2018, at age almost 92 following a full and productive life.  He was born June 23, 1926 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Glen E. and Erma Baker Steffensen.  He grew up in the Sugar House area, graduated from South High School and started at the University of Utah to study pre-med.  He entered the Navy and was trained as an electrical engineer radio technician and then taught courses on Treasure Island near San Francisco where he met his life-long friend, Dr. Joseph M. Heath.

 

After leaving the Navy, he went back to the University of Utah to study electrical engineering.  He was called on a mission to Norway, where he tracted one summer without purse or scrip up through the Northernmost part of Norway (sleeping in barns, under trees).  After his mission, he went back to the University of Utah and obtained a degree in Music.  At the University, Rob met Kathryn West and was smitten.  She was a beautiful, vivacious, national champion debater.  Nothing ever deterred Robert from pursuing what he wanted.  So after making her lunches every day for quite some time, Kathryn finally succumbed and agreed to marry him. On April 17, 1953 Kathryn and Robert were married in the Salt Lake Temple.

 

Early in their marriage, Robert’s father-in-law, Franklin L. West, told Robert very sternly -- “You have got to get out there and work like hell!”   Kathryn referred to this as “the curse,” because thereafter Robert in fact worked tirelessly for the benefit of his family.  He taught seminary at Olympus High School for five years while earning a Masters degree in Educational Administration. Thereafter, he was a guidance counselor at Wasatch and Churchill Junior High Schools for twelve years while earning a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Computer Science.  Thereafter, he worked as a Systems Analyst until his retirement for the Utah State Board of Education.

 

When he wasn’t working at his full-time job, he built three beautiful homes, three waterski boats (he especially liked the one red one with the big Cadillac engine) and purchased and maintained three rental homes.

 

Robert loved to ski and play tennis.  He played tennis on his lunch hour every day during the summers, and won the Tribune No-Champs Tennis Tournament in the over 45 age bracket.  That is perhaps why his dermatologist has been quite busy these past few years.

 

Robert and Kathryn were very frugal, which is why they were able to enjoy their retirement years comfortably.  

 

After he “retired,” Robert built his last home near the mouth of Parley’s Canyon.  Then, in his late 70s, Robert bought an old industrial building on 900 south near 500 west in Salt Lake City and with his son Erik, remodeled it into a twelve unit apartment building. Erik would sometimes call Kathryn and ask her to please call Robert to tell him to come home so that Erik could get some rest.

 

When son Brian commented to Robert a few years ago that Brian had a big project to do, Robert replied, “Well then, get up, get after it and get it done.”  That was Robert’s theretofore unspoken motto, and one which his family now strives to follow.

 

Robert supported Kathryn in her activities as an eloquent voice for tolerance and social justice, especially for LGBT people.  Robert and Kathryn loved nature, spending time at National Parks and Monuments, the California coast, the Logan Canyon cabin, and every available flower garden, especially their own.  He and Kathryn enjoyed meeting with their friends in Family Fellowship, and their Stratford and Norwegian dinner groups.  For decades they enjoyed Utah Symphony/Opera, Utah Festival Opera, the Pioneer Theatre Company – and season tickets to the University of Utah men’s basketball team games.

 

Robert was a lifelong and faithful member of the LDS church. As mentioned, he taught seminary and served on a Stake High Council.  When he reminisced about his mission, tears would come to his eyes and hearts were touched.  He will be remembered for his patience, kindness, courage, loyalty, hard work and constant devotion to his family.

 

Survived by his three sons: Brian (Susan Frost), David and Erik; 10 Steffensen grandchildren: Jamie (Mark Spencer), Adam (Randa Viera), Micah (Madeline Olsen), Aaron (Haylee Armstrong), Isaac, Caleb, Claire, Sophie Rose, Parker and Caitlin; 6 great grandchildren (with another on the way) Charlie, Eliza Jane, Isaiah, Rosemary and Mia Spencer, and Gabriel Steffensen; and his beloved sister, Gloria Sharp.

 

Preceded in death by his wife, Kathryn; twin daughters, Kari and Karen, and daughter-in-law, Jane Rich Steffensen.

 

Funeral services will be held Friday, April 20, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Monument Park Wasatch Hills Ward building, 2255 South Wasatch Drive, in Salt Lake City, UT.  You may greet the family on Thursday, April 19 from 6-8 p.m. at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 255 S. 200 E., Salt Lake City, Utah , or prior to the funeral from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Monument Park Wasatch Hills Ward building, same location as the funeral.  Interment will be at the Memorial Mountain View Cemetery, 3115 E Bengal Blvd. (7800 South), Salt Lake City, UT.  Funeral Directors Russon Brothers Mortuary.  Online guestbook available at www.russonmortuary.com.

 

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