HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. — Lt. Colonel Everett Woodrow Steiner, 95, passed away Thursday, Feb. 6 in Hendersonville, N.C. He was born Oct. 26, 1918, in Ellsworth County on the family farm near Black Wolf, to Joseph and Doris (Bisterfeldt) Steiner. He was the first of their six children, four sons and two daughters.
Everett graduated from Ellsworth High in 1936 and received a scholarship to play football for Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina. He was part of the 1940 Coyotes conference championship season and once caught three touchdown passes in a game as a tight end. He learned to fly while at college in Salina. Before graduating, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and was assigned to the airbase in Waco, Texas where his superb machine skills and hand-to-eye coordination made him a military pilot and flight instructor on the PT-17, BT-19 and AT-6 Texan. This experience led him to become a captain on a B-24 Liberator and he flew 33 missions over Nazi Germany. Based at the Pantanella AFB, Italy, on his the third mission flying the famous B-24 “V-Grand”, he took a direct hit on the no. 2 engine over Budapest. He piloted the crippled bomber for 4-1/2 hours at the near stall speed of 120 mph before successfully landing the plane on the island of Vis, Yugoslavia, in the Adriatic Sea. He had the crew tie their parachutes to the gunners side doors and deployed them when the plane touched the ground to slow it down as the hydraulics were shot out. For this effort, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by General Curtis LeMay.
Everett stayed on after the war; flying B-29’s doing photo recon for nuclear bomb testing in the South Pacific. He got into jet fighters in 1948 learning to fly the new F-80 Shooting Star at Tyndall AFB, Fla. While stationed at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, Texas, he completed his undergrad degree from Texas Christian University. He then served in Korea in l953 flying the F-86 Sabre and later became a Squadron Commander for the 331st Interceptor Squadron based out of Stewart AFB, N.Y. in 1958. He then flew the F-102 Delta Dart and F-104 Starfighter for joint American/European NATO defense forces based at Ramstein AFB, Germany. He became a member of the “Machbusters Club” breaking the sound barrier 17 times, including once over Paris. He was also a Tactical Commander for a new air base in Torrejon, Spain. In l962, he was assigned to the Pentagon as an intelligence officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired from the Air Force in l972 as a Lt. Colonel, serving 32 years. While in Washington, D.C. he completed his Master’s degree from American University and was accepted into their PHD program. At the end of his career, he had logged over 5,000 hours of total flying time in nearly every aircraft in the Air Force. He counted among his numerous acquaintances, military friends Chuck Yeager and Jim Jabarra and while living in Maine, L.L. Bean, a local retail clothier, who became a world recognized urban outfitter.
He and his wife Natalie resided near Bucksport, Maine on Lake Alamasook until 1995, when they moved to Hendersonville, N.C. to enjoy warmer weather. He was the Post Commander of the American Legion in Maine. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, bird watching, gardening and television sports. He always had a pair of binoculars near his side to watch the birds. Natalie passed away in 2008.
Everett is survived by sister Joyce Brady Brown of Citrus Heights, Calif. and numerous nieces and nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Natalie; his son Delorn; his parents Joe and Doris; brothers Delorn, Clayton and Franklin; and sister Ethel Zahradnik.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, at Parsons Funeral Home, with interment to follow at the Ellsworth Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1 to 8 p.m., with family present from 6 to 8 p.m., on Thursday, at the funeral home. Memorials can be made to the Kansas Wesleyan University Football Scholarship program in the name of Everett Steiner and the 1940 Championship Team.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Parsons Funeral Home**
PO Box 45
307 N. Lincoln
Ellsworth, Ks. 67439
Great Bend (Kan) Tribune, Feb. 11, 2014