Steven Patrick Stangl
November 28, 1950 – April 5, 2019
Steven Patrick Stangl was born on November 28, 1950 in Atlantic, Iowa. His parents were Patrick Joseph T. Stangl and Dorothy Theresa Rath. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 15. He married the love of his life, Patricia Divine, on September 15, 1972. Together, they raised three beautiful children on a small farm in Louisburg, KS, where they made their home for 26 years. He was a lover of nature, philosophy, music and family.
He is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 47 years; his three children, Zachary Stangl, Jessica Stangl, Katy Stangl and son-in-law, Brady Dringman; four grandchildren, Dylon Bolden, Mason Stangl, Nora Dringman, and Alice Dringman. He is also survived by nine siblings: Nancy Sorensen, Patrick Stangl, Jr., Mike Stangl, Rick Stangl, Terri Brown, Jerry Stangl, Scott Stangl, Kathy Hunter and John Stangl, their spouses and many nieces and nephews.
Thank you for all that you have taught us in this life but, most importantly, how to love deeply. You will be greatly missed.
Memorial contributions are suggested to USDA Forest Service Plant-A-Tree Program. "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in." -- Greek Proverb
In Loving Memory of My Husband
Steve Stangl came into my life as suddenly as he left it. On April 24, 1970 … almost 49 years to the day, what began as a blind date ended up becoming a lifetime together.
He was born in Atlantic, Iowa but moved to Kansas City when he was 15. We started dating when I was 18 and he was 19. I was surprised to learn that he was the oldest of 10 kids. He enjoyed reciting their names in quick succession --- Nanci, Pat, Terri, Rick, Mike, Jerry, Kathi, Scott, John --- and then he'd give a little laugh and say it again. . When I told him that I'd like to have a big family, too, he gave me a stunned look but it didn't scare him off which says a lot about how much his brothers and sisters meant to him. His relationship with them was one of the things that made me fall in love with him.
His favorite childhood memories included spending a lot of time at his grandparent’s car dealership and hanging out with the mechanics. And also the time his dad, unexpectedly, gave him permission to ride his bike 10 miles on a 2 lane highway so he could go swimming at a lake the next town over.
We married young, I was 20 and he was 21. We didn't think so at the time but we still had a lot of growing up to do. He was free-spirited and craved adventure while I was practical and craved the security of home. Over time, we came to realize that it was our very differences that brought our relationship into balance. One thing that held us together for 47 years was our unshakable belief that we were meant to be together in this lifetime.
When Steve became a father for the first time, I saw yet another side of him. We fully embraced the emerging home birth movement of the 70's. During the births of each of our children, he was my source of strength and my lifeline. Helping his own children into the world, being the first to see and touch them, instilled him with a deep respect for the miracle of life, for women, and especially for motherhood.
He wanted to be the best father that he could be. And that included sharing his love of nature with his children. So, we moved to Louisburg, KS and rented a little rundown farm after our first child, Zach, was born. Two years later we were able to buy that farm and 58 acres. We were so happy! He started fixing it up right away. For the next 24 years, he spent most of his spare time rebuilding the house and outbuildings. He always admired oak trees for their strength and beauty. And, as it turned out, the only thing that he didn't have to replace on that farm house were the oak beams that had held it up for 100 years. Over time, those beams had grown so strong that a nail could not be pounded into them. Those beams remind me of the strength of Steve's spirit.
We raised 3wonderful children on that old farm and Steve wanted to share his love of nature with them so he took them camping, built roaring bonfires, picked blackberries as big as your thumb, listened to frogs, whippoorwills, and hoot owls, went swimming in ponds and rivers, and took them out at night to gaze at the moon and stars.
He was a gentle man who respected life and tried not to hurt any living thing. I rarely, if ever, heard him say a harsh word about anyone. He was a quiet man but always knew just the right thing to say when someone was suffering and needed comforting.
He was a craftsman and loved working with wood and clay. Everything he touched became, to some degree, a work of art. He had a curious mind and enjoyed learning how things worked. Everything from electronics to the universe. He was reluctant to throw anything away because he was certain he could fix it or find another use for it. He wouldn't buy something if he could make it himself because he enjoyed the creative challenge.
Music was really important to Steve. He appreciated how a person could feel every range of emotion through music and, if words ever failed, there was always music. He loved to play the guitar but didn't like to play in front of others. I would sometimes come home unexpectedly and hear him playing and singing his heart out.
He was highly intelligent, a deep thinker, and a philosopher. He didn’t place his trust in man made things but he fully trusted the laws of nature. He firmly believed that everything that happens is for a good reason... even when things seem to be falling apart. He believed that death is just as natural, profound, and miraculous as birth and that when it is your time to go, you will go regardless of interventions or wishful thinking. He believed in an afterlife and was looking forward to experiencing that great adventure. But he was not ready yet. He has 4 beautiful grandchildren, Dylon, Mason, Nora, and Alice who he was just getting to know. They were the lights of his life. He looked forward to seeing them as often as possible. They brought light into some of his darkest hours. They gave him strength and hope for the future. To leave them must have been very hard.
As Steve grew older he began to think more often about his mortality. Because of that, he wanted to make sure that the people he loved knew it. Not a day went by that he did not make a point of letting me know how much he respected, valued, and loved me. I feel lucky to have experienced his unconditional love and my life is richer for it.
This simple, humble, kind man has touched more lives than he could ever imagine. I believe If he were to leave us with one last piece of wisdom I believe it would be this:
Life is a precious gift....There are no accidents..... Everything that happens to us is meant to help us grow in understanding...... Trust and respect nature...... It's the little day to day things that matter the most.... And finally, be gentle with each other because our relationships are the only thing that matters.
I think it's fitting that he passed away in the Spring – the season of rebirth and growth – the season of hope.
In Loving Memory of our Father
From his son, Zach:
One of the things I'm most proud of in my life is my ability to fix anything. I learned this skill from my father. As far back as I can remember, he was always building something or had something taken apart. As a child, I'd watch and try to help. He was always patient and took the time to explain how things worked. As I grew older, I began to take things apart, too... my go cart, my bike, and my truck. He was always there to help me put it back together. I was a stubborn teenager so I usually had to do it my way first. When that failed, I'd admit defeat and then do it his way.
I also remember one particular lesson he taught me while building the addition onto the farmhouse. I was holding the nails between my thumb and my index finger. He stopped me and showed me another way to hold the nail. I was a teenager and thought I knew everything so I brushed him off and thought to myself, “Whatever, old man, I don't need to be taught how to hold a nail.” The first time you smash your finger with a hammer it hurts but not nearly as bad as the second or third time. He came back over as I was clutching my fingers in my other hand and said, “If you drive enough nails you're eventually going to hit your fingers. It hurts a lot less if you hold the nail the way I showed you.” I thought he was being an overbearing perfectionist the first time he told me I was holding the nail wrong but it turned out he simply had my best interest at heart. I never forgot that.
From his daughter, Jessi:
Pa taught me so many things and instilled so many qualities that make me who I am. He taught me how to drive a car, and instilled in me an appreciation for music and for Bob Ross. One thing he said to me years ago that I will never forget is this: If you're happy or excited about something, always tell people about it because it makes them happy, too. And, it's easy to spread kindness and joy. But when we're scared or sad about something, we tend to keep it to ourselves which is especially true of me. He told me that it's ok to share those things, too, because when you do, you give a small piece of your worry or your sadness away. And, the more people you tell, the more people you have helping you carry the burden. He also taught me how important it is to laugh and be silly. Something we always did was to send each other funny or unusual names that we came across or lines from songs that are relevant in the moment. One of the names we exchanged had 30 letters in it and we had a great time trying to pronounce it. One of his favorites was a tennis player named Yosuki Watanuki. He liked it because it rhymed and he enjoyed watching him play just so he could hear his name being announced. Recently, he sent me this line from a Kelley Joe Phelps song, “I want clear eyes, and clean hands, I wanna be a good man.” And, that's exactly what he was. Pa, I will always love you.
From his daughter, Katy:
I remember a time when I was experiencing teenage heartache. Pa found me crying in my room one day. Without saying a word, he wrapped his arms around me, held me, and cried with me. In that moment, he taught me what true empathy is.
And, in the early weeks after the birth of my first child, I was filled with worry and anxious thoughts like new parents often experience. Late one night, I reached out to him for guidance and reassurance. This is what he said: “She's tiny and she's totally dependent and it's scary but being born and growing up has been working really well for a long time and it's not going to stop working now.” He reminded me that “Mother's milk and love and affection are the most important things right now.” His wise words helped bring me some peace and comfort during this time and I often remind myself of his wisdom during the scary moments of parenthood.
From his soon-to- be son- in- law, Brady:
Steve was the father that I never had. Throughout the last ten years I knew him, he always listened, never judged, and related on a level I had never experienced before. Over this past winter, we really had a chance to bond while working together to finish my and Katy's basement. After a few coffees...no, a lot of coffees...., a box of band-aides, and stories about how Katy and Ma are always right, I deeply felt the love and kindness that he projected. Pa truly taught me what a real father can be and I'm so happy he gave me the opportunity in my life to experience this. He set an example of how to father my two young daughters, Nora and Alice. I will miss him dearly and he will always hold a special place in my heart.
- Patrick Joseph T. Stangl and Dorothy Theresa (Rath) Stangl, Parents
- Patricia (Divine) Stangl, Wife
- Zachary Stangl, Son
- Jessica Stangl, Daughter
- Katy Stangl, Daughter
- Brady Dringman, Son-in-law
- Dylon Bolden, Grandson
- Mason Stangl, Grandson
- Nora Dringman, Granddaughter
- Alice Dringman, Granddaughter
- He is also survived by nine siblings: Nancy Sorensen, Patrick Stangl, Jr., Mike Stangl, Rick Stangl, Terri Brown, Jerry Stangl, Scott Stangl, Kathy Hunter and John Stangl, their spouses and many nieces and nephews.
- Zachary Stangl
- Dylon Bolden
- Brady Dringman
- Patrick Stangl, Jr.
- Mike Stangl
- Scott Stangl
- Rick Stangl
- Steve Brown
- USDA Forest Service Plant-A-Tree Program
- Celebration of Life Service Wednesday, April 17, 2019
- Burial Service Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Steven Patrick Stangl
April 17, 2019
Steve will be greatly missed but his sweet smile, warmth, kindness and gentle spirit will be forever remembered.
We are so thankful for the wonderful example and everything that he taught our grandson Dylon.
With Our Sincere Sympathy, Will, Ronda and Brennden