Birds 01

Bruce Lyle Steger

December 21, 1943 ~ September 3, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old


Bruce Lyle Steger, 79, of Chippewa Falls, town of LaFayette, passed away at home on September 3, 2023, after a short but brave battle with a rare, very aggressive, and basically untreatable form of stomach cancer. He was surrounded by loving family in his final days and passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Bruce was born in Appleton on December 21, 1943. He graduated from Xaiver High School before going on to UW-Madison where he earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and the University of Maryland where he earned a master's degree in computer science. He worked as a crypto mathematician for the National Security Agency where he was awarded a meritorious Civil Service Award. From there, he joined Cray Research as a hardware/software engineer manager until his retirement.

Retirement was his happy place where he got to focus on his favorite hobbies—traveling; spending time with his grandsons; banding birds, photographing birds, and analyzing bird-related data; reading; and watching the Badgers, Packers, Brewers, and Bucks. He was an avid amateur ornithologist and participated in and served as the compiler for four area Christmas Bird Counts for many years, started and led a local MAPS bird banding station, and contributed in many other ways to the local birding community, including mentoring and training numerous young birders and banders. He was also an avid bird photographer and loved nothing more than photographing the many avian visitors that utilized the water feature he built in his backyard. He traveled throughout the USA and visited numerous countries with friends to go birding, including Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago. He also took trips to Bulgaria, Spain, and Australia, always with his binoculars and camera, documenting everything he saw as a legacy for his family.

He leaves behind his soulmate of 60 years, Sue, and three sons, Brad (Sophie Matthys) of Manitou Springs, Colorado, Brian of St. Louis, Missouri, and Brett (Libby) of New Brighton, Minnesota. With three sons, he kept busy chauffeuring them to and from practices, coaching soccer and basketball, and supporting them by attending as many of their games and events as possible. He also leaves behind four grandsons, Alexander, Sebastian, Calvin, and Paul, all of whom he cherished watching grow up and develop into themselves; he loved playing games and watching movies with them, taking them for boat rides on Lake Wissota, and supporting them in their various activities and sporting events.

He is also survived by three brothers—Alan (Barb) of Littleton, Colorado; Mark (Ellen) of Richardson, Texas; and Kurt (Stacy) of Kaukauna, Wisconsin—and two sisters— Susan Lee (Dave) of Appleton, Wisconsin and Linda Schindhelm (Jack) of Suamico, Wisconsin. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Karen Neubauer of Cheney, Washington, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Jane Steger of Appleton, Wisconsin, his brother Stanley (who died at birth), and his sister Karen Climer. He was also preceded in death by his in-laws, Leonard and Dorothy Neubauer, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

There will be no service, but he would like everyone to celebrate his life by appreciating nature and loved ones. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bruce’s name can be made to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology or the Institute for Bird Populations.

The family would like to thank Sacred Heart Hospital, especially Dr. Obaid and Dr. Lalich, as well as the staff there, the EMTs from the Town of Lafayette, and the nurses and staff at St. Joseph’s Hospice in Chippewa Falls for ensuring his comfort and dignity in the end.

To all of you who respected and understood Bruce, you not only enriched his life but ours as well. Our deepest and heartfelt thanks to each of you.

Peace and happy flights to all. May you keep riding the thermals and always have the wind at your back.


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