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Steffel's Legacy: "Do the right thing."


Steffel.jpgThe Diocese of Gaylord has bid farewell to Michael Ernest Steffel, who passed away on November 27, 2012, in Gaylord.

Steffel, 65, joined the diocesan staff in 1981 and spent most of his career with the diocese as the Diocesan Finance Officer and Director of the Secretariat for Administrative Services. He officially retired on May19, 2011, 30 years to the day that he began employment with the diocese. Mike often smiled as he told the story about how following his interview, he heard on the radio that then Gaylord Bishop Edmund Szoka had just been appointed Archbishop of Detroit. He was officially hired by Msgr. David Gemuend, who had been appointed Administrator of the diocese until Bishop Robert Rose was named in October of 1981.

Mike was born in Petoskey, Michigan, on April 25, 1947 to Paul and Lillian Steffel. He attended St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Petoskey, graduating from its high school in 1965.

He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1968 and served his country as a Staff Sergeant, completing a tour of duty in Vietnam before being honorably discharged in 1972. Throughout his life, he remained friends with a number of the men with whom he served.

Mike then enrolled at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey to study accounting. He also attended Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, and received his accounting degree from Ferris State University in Big Rapids in 1974.

Before moving to Gaylord, Mike worked for a CPA firm in St. Joseph, Michigan, and served as the City Treasurer for Petoskey.

As Diocesan Finance Officer, Mike worked closely with the Bishop and with the Diocesan Finance Council to ensure proper stewardship for all the temporalities for the Diocese of Gaylord which included accounting, human resources, and financial development. Mike oversaw the annual diocesan operating budget, development of financial resources and investments, cemeteries, diocesan buildings, parish and diocesan real property administration and stewardship efforts.

He served on the Catholic Human Services Board of Directors and served on various committees of the Michigan Catholic Conference. Mike was an active member of St. Mary Cathedral, where he served as a member of the Parish Finance Council. He loved trains and lighthouses and dreamed of taking a cross country train trip.

Bishop Bernard Hebda celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, December 1, 2012. In his homily he recalled Mike’s great faith and his desire that the diocese always “do the right thing.” When there were concerns about finances, “Mike always asked me, ‘What should we as Church be doing?’”, Bishop Hebda said. “Mike so wanted to make sure that the Church in the Diocese of Gaylord was ministering in the best way, and that we were doing whatever the Gospel required us to do, as we responded to God’s love and contributed to the spread of the Gospel. The Bishop expressed his hope that we might all learn from Mike’s example as we strive to keep our focus on doing what is right.”

In addition to his loving wife, Cynthia, whom he married in 1971, Mike is survived by his children, Charles (Susan) of Gaylord; Kristina (Alexander) Vollmer of Gaylord; grandchildren Ian, Madeline and Reese; sister, Barbara (Pete) Emerson; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Mike was buried in St. Mary Cathedral’s Resurrection Cemetery immediately following the Funeral Mass and a Military Burial Ceremony.

Memorials in honor of Michael Steffel may be made to the Diocesan Building Fund of the Diocese of Gaylord, 611 West North Street, Gaylord, Michigan 49735. Condolences to the family may also be sent in care of the Diocese of Gaylord.

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