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Obituaries » Steven Carl Suess

Steven Carl Suess

February 11, 1950 - June 27, 2017

Service Date: July 9, 2017

Steven Carl  Suess, 67, of Belleville, Illinois, born Saturday, February 11, 1950, in Highland, IL, died Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in southwest Michigan.

Born in Highland, IL, Steve was proud of his Swiss and German roots that followed him to Edwardsville, then Granite City where he met Barbara, and, eventually, to Signal Hill in Belleville where he raised his children. Steve was a 6th generation member of the German Evangelical Church, a lifelong church choir member, and a member of St. Paul UCC in Belleville since 1989.

Receiving his bachelor degree and two master’s degrees from SIUE, he went on to receive his Doctorate of Education from St. Louis University. A life-long educator, Steve’s professional career began at Signal Hill School where he taught English and directed thirteen 8th grade plays from 1972-1985. In 1985, Steve became the assistant principal at Sperreng Middle School in the Lindbergh School District in Missouri and, later, the principal of Kennerly Elementary School in the  Lindbergh School District from 1989 – 2008. He served as the Director of Elementary Education for the Lindbergh School District from 1996-2008. During Steve’s tenure as principal, Kennerly was recognized as a Missouri Gold Star School as well as a National School of Character (first in Missouri). After retiring from the Lindbergh School District, Steve began working full-time at Lindenwood University in Belleville where he had taught part-time since 2001. Serving as the Coordinator of Graduate Studies and then Division Chair for Education and Counseling, Steve was integral in bringing the Lindenwood Belleville Campus to life.

Within the educational world, Steve served on the Character Education Partnership, was a national site visitor for National Schools of Character, received the Lindbergh Leader Award, A World of Difference Community Service Award, Eddy Award, KSDK Crystal Apple Educator Award, Shining Star Educator Award, and Dean’s Award for Excellence in Character Education from UMSL. Steve was also a charter member of the Missouri Leadership Academy, past member of the St. Louis Principal’s Academy, and charter member of L.A.C.E. (Leadership Academy for Character Education). Steve was also past president of Friends of Characterplus. During this tenure he forged many meaningful friendships.

Giving back to the community was an integral part of Steve’s life and legacy. His dedication was evident in his leadership as a charter member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Tesson Heights and founding member of the Signal Hill Education Foundation, a school that meant so much to him. He served in numerous roles at the Rotary Club of St. Clair West, including club president and foundation president as well as being a Paul Harris Fellow. Grateful to be able to give back to the Belleville community, Steve served as the Chair of the Education Committee of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, on the Kern Center YMCA Board of Managers, on the board of Masterworks Chorale, on the Signal Hill Neighborhood Association Board, as past Church Council President of St. Paul UCC, and as the Chair of BASIC (Belleville Achieves Strength in Character). Particularly near and dear to Steve was St. Paul’s Home for the Aged. He previously served as the Chair of the Foundation and was currently serving as the Home’s Board Chair.

In his “semi-retirement,” Steve continued his lifelong love of playing the piano and gardening in his yard – with a special fondness for his hosta garden.  He enjoyed memberships with Barb at both the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Art Museum. The most beloved husband to his Babs, Big Steve to his kids, and Opa to his grandchildren, Steve will be missed but never forgotten.

He was preceded in death by his:

  • Parents: Richard and Thelma (nee Miller) Suess
  • Father and mother-in-law: William and Vera Sage
  • Niece and goddaughter: Emily Anne Douglas

Surviving are his:

  • Wife of nearly forty-five years: Barbara Jean (nee Sage) Suess of Belleville, IL;
    • whom he married on November 18, 1972
  • Daughter: Megan (Andrew) Selck of Waterloo, IL
  • Son: Steven “Chip” Suess of Belleville, IL
  • Two grandchildren: Drew and Kate Selck;
  • Sister: Veronica (David) Douglas of Granite City, IL
  • Sisters-in-law
    • Jennifer Sage of Granite City, IL
    • Rebecca (Roger) Kriegel of Granite City, IL
  • Nephews
    • Joshua (Acacia) Douglas
    • William Kriegel
    • Mathew (godson) Kriegel
    • 2 great nephews
    • Numerous cousins, family and friends

Memorials: Memorials may be made to the St. Paul UCC Fine Arts Fund, St. Paul Senior Community Foundation, or the Signal Hill Education Foundation.

Services: A memorial service celebrating the life of Steve will be held at St. Paul UCC in Belleville on Sunday, July 9, at 1:00 pm.