Robert “Bob” Steffes, age 100 years, 4 months and 4 days, passed away peacefully at his home on Schweitzer Road, Elwood, on Friday (Oct. 4, 2019) by his kitchen window overlooking the home farm where he was born.

Surviving are his wife, Virginia (nee Ryan); sister, Claire Casvrella; daughters, Joy (George) Warriner, Virginia (David) Rubner; sons, Jack (Linda) Dale (Jan) and Rex (Lori); 13 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Jacob “Jake” and Marjorie (nee Roderick) Steffes; his stepmother, Martha (nee Arnold); and sisters, Phylis Rauworth and Shirley Zupancic.

Bob was born in Jackson Township on May 30, 1919, where he farmed up until he was 85 years old. He lived a long and full life, starting out on the farm milking cows by hand and plowing with horses. Bob was a talented man with many hobbies. He was an innovative mechanic who could build and fix just about anything from farm equipment to race cars. In fact, he built his first car when he was just 12. Bob’s true passion became Midget race cars, which he took part in for more than 40 years, winning 12 championships and more than 225 feature events. Bob’s race car, a 1947 Kurtis Kraft made it to the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Rt. 66 Welcome Center in Joliet, and is still on display today. If Bob wasn’t farming or at the track, he could be found trap shooting or even dancing. He was sure someone to know and he will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Forsythe Gould Funeral Home, Manhattan. A private committal service and burial will take place in Brown Cemetery, Elwood.

Memorials may be made to Brown Cemetery (c/o Joanne Rachke, 19508 Noel Road, Elwood, IL 60421).

Please sign his online guestbook at


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