Skip to comments.Deacon Bill Steltemeier of EWTN dies
Posted on 02/15/2013 1:49:41 PM PST by NYer
A giant in Catholic broadcastingand one of the most familiar and recognizable deacons in Americahas died.
From the National Catholic Register:
Deacon R. William Steltemeier Jr., died on Feb. 15 at age 83 after an extended illness. Familiar to Eternal Word Television Networks international family of viewers, for three decades he had been a faithful servant for Mother Angelica and the mission of EWTN.
He is survived by Ramona, his wife of 59 years. He was preceded in death by his son, Rudy Steltemeier III, and daughter-in-law Debra Steltemeier. Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Born in Nashville, Tenn., on June 6, 1929, to the late Rudolph William Steltemeier and Mary Ione (Phippen) Steltemeier, Deacon Bill attended Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis and then received his college education in his native city before serving both the Church and the extended community there.
He married Ramona (Schnupp) Steltemeier on Aug. 22, 1953, and the following year received his law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville. He then served two years in the U.S. Army in France.
By 1960, attorney Steltemeier had become a co-founder of Steltemeier & Westbrook, a Nashville law practice that ultimately became one of the nations leading firms specializing in reorganization, bankruptcy and commercial law.
Deacon Bills longtime association with Mother Mary Angelica, EWTNs foundress, began when he met her on March 9, 1978. Soon after, he became the founding president and a board member of Eternal Word Television Network when it was formed in 1980 and began commuting weekly from his Nashville home to EWTNs base in Irondale, Ala., outside of Birmingham.
In 1985, he resigned from his law firm to devote himself full time to EWTN, serving as friend, adviser and attorney for the many apostolic works of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery and EWTN.
Already in the 1960s, Deacon Bill had joined his commitment as a Catholic with his legal expertise, especially with major roles in helping rehabilitate prisoners both spiritually and socially. Among his accomplishments, he co-founded the Junior Chamber of Commerce for the Tennessee Prison System, was a board member of the 7-Step Foundation and Operation Comeback, then was appointed to the Commissioners Review Board on prison reform in 1975 by the governor of Tennessee.
At the same time, for the Diocese of Nashville he was highly active in the rehabilitation of prisoners as a board member of Dismas House, a halfway program. He was ordained to the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Nashville on April 26, 1975, by Bishop Joseph Durick and was among the first men in the nation to be ordained to the recently reinstated permanent diaconate.
Shortly after Bills ordination to the diaconate, he was appointed Catholic chaplain for the Tennessee State Prison for Men. Deacon Bill was also lay director of the diocesan Catholic Cursillo movement.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…
Open wide your gates, O Jerusalem!
Blessed to have known Bill personally. Requiescat in pace, Bill, and pray for us.
I’m sorry for your loss, Campion. I never met Deacon Bill but I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his sacrifice of time and treasure on behalf of the network. I’m sure my story isn’t unique. No doubt I’m one of a great throng who, if it weren’t for EWTN, would never have come into the Church even after years of studying the Catholic faith. Who wouldn’t have had sound teaching faithful to the magisterium to counter errors taught in RCIA. Who wouldn’t have had uplifting programs that encouraged us to stay the course in hard times and that challenged us when we thought we had it made. I’m so grateful for everything that Deacon Bill, Mother, the nuns and the brothers struggled through to make EWTN a light in the darkness for me and for so many others. And for offering that persistent invitation to come home. May Deacon Bill be ever radiant with joy in the presence of Our Lord now and for eternity.
Yours is a beautiful post.
Lord Jesus Christ, rest Thy servant Bill with the saints.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in the company of saints in heaven, amen.
God Bless Him.