April 25, 1942 – April 15, 2016
STEPHEN ROBERT WOLFE West Des Moines Steve passed away peacefully on Friday, April 15, 2016 at his home with family by his side. A memorial visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, April 25, 2016 at McLaren's Chapel followed by a time of sharing at 3 p.m. This is the same day Steve was born and the day he met his wife, 51 years ago. A private family burial will be at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Adel, Iowa at a later date.
On what would have been Steve’s 74th birthday we celebrate. Steve had a wonderful life; he did most things on his bucket list and left all of us with wonderful memories. He is a man who will never be forgotten. The stories of Wolfie, Wolfman, and The Fossil will be told for years. Steve was born on April 25, 1942 to Robert “Bob” and Virginia “Ginny” Wolfe in Princeton, Illinois. He was the testing board for Mike, Tony, and Greg who followed his birth within five years.
The Wolfe family moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1947. They first lived in a house in the Drake neighborhood before moving “South of Grand” to Terrace Drive. The Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson perfectly describes the adventures Steve had while living there. Rescuing Tony from a pond (even though the mailman got the credit), delivering newspapers to the Governor’s mansion, jumping trains so he could ride to downtown Des Moines, stealing milk from the AE milk delivery truck and attending Greenwood Elementary. He even had Santa bring Silver, a horse, one Christmas morning. Imagine Bob pulling the four boys around the neighborhood on a sleigh behind Silver.
In 1954 the family moved to 80 acres in rural Warren County to a home they called Indian Hills. The house was two barracks that Steve’s dad had moved from old Fort Des Moines. The family spent many nights camping on the property so the location would be just right. Steve loved to tell the story of going to Gunning Elementary when they moved to Indian Hills. Gunning was a one room school house and the students were assigned to go to the neighbor’s home to pump water for the students to use and since he was the only student his age he was always first in his class. After two years at Gunning, Steve attended schools in Indianola until 1959. Steve was the rebel they couldn’t handle and they asked that he not attend his senior year at Indianola High School. Steve graduated high school from Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri in 1960. He then attended Parsons College (a well-known party school). If military school couldn’t settle him down maybe enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1962 could. Steve was an Airways Observer (weatherman) in the Marine Corps. He spent 13 months in Japan and only one day in Vietnam. He told stories of building the beer tent at Da Nang. After being stationed in Japan he was stationed at MCAS, El Toro (Santa Ana), California. He met Jana in Santa Ana, California on April 25, 1965, his 23rd birthday.
Steve and Jana were married in Garden Grove, California on November 26, 1965, seven months and a day after meeting. Four years, four months, 21 days of service in the Marine Corps was complete in July, 1966. Steve and Jana had many moves before making it back to Iowa. They left California and lived with Bob and Ginny before Steve started college at University of Nebraska-Omaha where he studied broadcasting. School and Steve never really clicked so it was off to bigger and better things. The first move was to St. Louis in 1966, then a transfer to Houston in 1969, back to Iowa in 1972. He was home.
In Iowa, Steve ran Indian Hills Kennel for his parents. Steve always had a passion for dogs that surely came from his parents. He loved being outdoors, training the hunting dogs, participating in field trials and doing what he loved. When the kennel sold he was heartbroken. A couple jobs later, Steve went to work for West Des Moines Water Works until his retirement. He never found that naked sun bathing beauty in her backyard.
Steve was a member of Ducks Unlimited, Acanthus Masonic Lodge, Za-Ga-Zig Shrine and The Indianola Class of 1960 group. He loved cooking at Acanthus, cheering on the Hawkeyes and owning one share of the Green Bay Packers stock.
When Steve made that final journey on April 15, 2016, family, friends, and many much loved dogs were there to greet him. As a family we know how important it was to Steve to give Jana a 50th Anniversary in November and he did. He never made a promise to Jana that he didn’t keep.
Steve is survived by his wife, Jana; son, Eric (Carrie), daughter, Suzanna “Suki” (Joe) Sanford and son, Jon; grandsons, Alex Wolfe, Ian Wolfe, Gabe Sanford, Keegan Wolfe, Paden Sanford, Ben Wolfe and the perfect granddaughter, Maggi Wolfe; brothers, Mike (Debbie) and Greg (Vickie) and many nieces and nephews. Steve was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Tony.
For Steve’s 50th Birthday Steve’s Mom wrote a letter to Steve that said something to the effect that she was always afraid Steve would leave Jana in the Spring. Growing up Steve got itchy feet every Spring; where it be running away to a friend’s house down the street or hitch hiking to Florida for Spring Break He left all of us in the spring. At the end Steve was still giving through organ donation A Special Thanks to the 4th floor Mercy West Lakes and Mercy Hospice nurses. Memorials may be made to The Puppy Jake Foundation.
- Celebration of Life Monday, April 25, 2016
- Time of Sharing Monday, April 25, 2016
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April 21, 2016
So sorry for your loss. You guys are in our thoughts!
April 21, 2016
We are very sorry for your loss. Steve was a great guy that everyone will miss. Thoughts & Prayers are with the family. Jeff & Carol Smith
April 20, 2016
I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wolfe, reading about him and seeing pictures of him thru Suki's eyes makes me feel like I have. My deepest condolences to Suki, her Mom and the rest of his family and friends, may you find some kind of peace during this difficult time.