An unexpected role [UPDATED]Published 5:16am Monday, June 17, 2013 Updated 7:17am Monday, June 17, 2013
To say that Steve Steinbach and his wife, Christina, were close might be one of the biggest understatements of the year.
Family and close friends say not even tornadic force winds could slip a piece of paper or even a feather between them – they were that “close.”
But tragically, something did get between them — stage four melanoma. Christina died on October 31, 2011. It ended a true “love affair,” left five children without a mother, and Steve without a wife.
Steve finds himself in the tough position on this Father’s Day of playing mom as well. That can be a challenge of gigantic proportions.
“When we learned it was stage 4, we knew it wasn’t good,” Steve recalled. “The final six weeks were tough. She tried to hide it, but I know she was suffering.”
Throughout the entire ordeal, the family tried to deal with things as open and honestly as possible. That helped soften the blow and helped them prepare for their mother’s fate.
Understanding the situation was important and things wouldn’t be such a shock
Steve and Christina were parents to Andrew, 14, Jonathan, 13, Peter, 12, Catherine, 11, and Maria, 9. They were a close-knit family with strong religious beliefs.
He also says Christina was the “love of his life.” She grew up near Dead Lake and he just north of Fergus Falls. The couple met at the library in Fergus Falls and after about a month of dating, he knew she was “the one.”
Their marriage lasted 14 years and ended all too tragically.
Their faith, with a big assist going to Father Greg Paffel, former Pastor of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Fergus Falls, helped them as well.
“And the kids and I got through it together,” Steve said. “We always made it an important point of bringing them to church and making their faith an important part of their lives.”
They had plenty of family help too. Playing a big role were his parents, Dave and Gloria and her remarried parents, Bonnie Novacek and Gary Rheault.
He says he has often wondered why. Or the reason it happened.
Steve has been employed at Service Food in Fergus Falls for eight years, and credits owner Gary Spies with being extremely helpful and supportive as well.
Today will be a peaceful day for this close-knit family. It will be a second Father’s Day with an important member missing, but Steve insists things will be good.
There are no specific plans in the works, but Steve says his kids have always been good to him. He’s confident they will be today as well.
By Mike Bellmore
For The Journal