WICHITA — Norbert Stegman, 91, of Wichita, Kan. passed peacefully on June 28, 2022. Norbert was born on March 31, 1931, to parents John J. Stegman and Margaret Dinkel at his parents’ farm outside of Loretto, Rush County, Kan. He attended school at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Loretto until
moving to Ness City. There he worked as a farm laborer until he joined the U.S. Army at age 17. Norbert attended basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia 1948 and then served at Fort Skelly near Regensburg, Germany in the Armored Calvary as a motor pool and tank mechanic. He rose quickly
in rank as a native German speaker and enjoyed privilege as an interpreter. While stationed in Germany, Norbert met the love of his life, Erna Santl, whom he married Sept. 11, 1952, in Regensburg.
After an honorable discharge, Norbert and Erna returned to the United States and started a family. He settled in Great Bend, Kan. where he worked as an automotive mechanic where he specialized in cars, light trucks, and heavy equipment. He later worked as an oil field mechanic for Shauers
Engine Service traveling the state repairing pumping units.
After retirement he volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. He made special wooden cats for each homeowner as a housewarming gift. He also volunteered at St. Anthony Catholic Church. Norbert loved all animals, gardening, teaching others about mechanics and construction, reading, languages, and he especially enjoyed time with family. He had clear memories of the Volga German settlers of Rush County and often shared stories of their settlement. He would take road trips to museums and frequent trips to Germany to visit family.
Norbert is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 70 years, Erna; five children Don (Cindy) of Pueblo, Colo., Rick (LaDawn) of Cunningham, Kan., Steve (Lisa Jacobs) of Great Bend, Kan., Cathy (Shawn) Devlin of Eastborough, Kan. and Patricia (Scott) DePriest of Wichita, Kan.; grandchildren Erin Stegman, Jennifer (Brad) Nelsen, Callie (Dan) Archuletta, Kaitlin (Jordan) Price, Brandi (Colton) Matthew, Kyle (Tayler) Stegman, Adam Stegman, Jacob Stegman, Collin Devlin, Connor (Hannah) Devlin, Cole (Colleen) DePriest, Evan DePriest, and Alex DePriest; great-grandchildren Ben Nelsen, Nicole Nelsen, Easton Matthew, Eli Matthew, Emma Stegman, Owen Stegman, Callum DePriest; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; sisters Leona Krmela, Armella Graf, Lydia Schuckman, Rosaline McAfee, and Belle Boucher, an infant sister Marie; brothers Linus and Herbert; and special friends Gilbert and Kathleen Sander and Delbert and Margaret Shauers.
Norbert had a plaque of John F. Kennedy’s famous quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” and that sentiment was the basis for how he lived his life. He believed in working hard, taking personal responsibility, and giving back to others. Norbert’s Catholic faith brought him joy and solace throughout hislife. He was amember of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Wichita.
Rosary will take place at Downing and Lahey East on Friday, July 15, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. with graveside service at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, Wichita. Memorials can be made in Norbert’s name to Habitat for Humanity and Kansas Humane Society.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, July 3, 2022