Arthur Steeg, 95, of LaGrange, Fennville, Michigan and Venice, Florida, formerly of Forest Park, died on Aug. 17, 2020. Born in Brienne, Romania on Feb. 28, 1925, he was the son of Reinhold and Hulda Steeg.
He often shared happy memories of his early years in Romania. His family’s farm and vineyard was a popular stopping place for people going to the weekly market. The market town was a mile away and travelers would stop to spend the night before taking their goods to sell the next morning. In addition to providing lodging and a safe place to store goods, his family also sold wine in large barrels which some of the travelers would buy to bottle and sell at the market. The people who came every week were from all over Romania, Bulgaria and Russia. He enjoyed the weekly excitement and, being naturally proficient, learned to speak several languages.
His family was forced to leave their farm and vineyard and moved to Germany not long after Communist Russia reclaimed the territory in 1940. Starting over in a new country, he worked with his family until he was drafted at age 18. While in the army cavalry division, his facility with languages proved useful and he served as an interpreter for his platoon. His unit was eventually captured and held in a Russian prisoner of war camp. Since he could speak the language fluently, his captors realized he was a “hometown boy” and gained so much trust that he and another soldier were able to escape. After a long journey he finally made his way back to his parent’s home in Germany, arriving on his father’s birthday.
After the war, he met and married his wife, Ida Manske. They settled close to family in northern Germany but things were difficult in postwar Europe and he and his wife and 4-year-old daughter immigrated to America in 1951. When they first arrived, they spent a few months in Oklahoma and then moved to Chicago, where a second daughter was born and he began a long and successful career as a tool-and-die maker and machinist.
He always took pride in hard work and continued to work past retirement, including a part-time job at Jewel Foods, working there until he was into his 80s. He loved talking and joking with customers and his checkout line at the Jewel was always the most popular. He loved music and was a big fan of Lawrence Welk. They had a second home in Michigan and in later years, another in Florida where they enjoyed the snowbird lifestyle. His warmth and humor had a lasting impact on many people, young and old.
Arthur was predeceased by his wife of 70 years, Ida Steeg (nee Manske) and his brother Hugo Steeg. He is survived by his daughters, Trudy Roznos and Monica Steeg; his grandson, Jason Roznos, his great-granddaughters, Abigail and Hannah; and his great-great-granddaughter, Harley Rose.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family is planning a private memorial service. For more, call 708-366-2200 or visit www.ZimmermanHarnett.com.