JJ Steffen of Monticello, UT passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 27, 2016 at the Four Corners Care Center in Blanding, UT.
JJ was born on February 25, 1925 to George and Edna Steffen on the family farm near Kismet, KS, where he spent the first 17 years of his life.
He graduated from Kismet High School in 1942 and joined the Merchant Marines to fight for his country in World War II. He spent his military career assigned to four different ships carrying troops and equipment for WWII.
JJ returned stateside, got married and started a family.
He began his second career with Mesa Petroleum in Ulysses, KS in 1951 and worked for the company for 33 years. He took early retirement in 1981 and moved his family to Monticello, where he lived out the remaining years of his life, hiking the mountains and canyons that he loved deeply.
JJ was an accomplished horseshoe pitcher, winning multiple state and national titles, and many medals and trophies too numerous to list.
He and his wife, Shirley, traveled extensively to play and teach the sport.
They pitched in 15 states including Alaska and Hawaii, made two teaching trips to Japan, and also competed in Canada.
They made many friends and good memories along the way.
JJ was a talented musician. He played the harmonica often, instilling his love of music in all of his children.
He was a caring, loving generous man and will be missed immensely.
He is preceded in death by his parents and daughter-in-law, Linda Steffen.
He is survived by his wife Shirley, of Monticello; and his eight children; Diana Sue (Joe) Brown of Delta, UT; Terry Ray (Debbie) Clayton of Pratt, KS; Rebecca Lois Hightower of Grand Junction, CO; Ronald Dean (Kristy) Clayton of Trinidad, CO; Michael Leroy (Teresa) Clayton of Dodge City, KS; Carla DeAnne Clayton of Orem, UT; David James (Tammy) Steffen of Hays, KS; and Jalene (Douglas) Berger of Loveland, CO; 18 beloved grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
JJ is also survived by the many community children he and his wife mentored and grew to love as their own. There will be a memorial service to be announced at a later date.