Army Chaplain Fr. Leonard F. Stegman (CH. COL. US Army, Ret.) went to be with his Lord on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, while at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio TX at 11PM as end of day TAPS was sounded for the facility. He died at age 97.
He was born on May 31, 1917 in Offerle, Kansas, attended high school for two years at Plain, KS and for three years (because of Latin) at St. Lawrence Seminary, Mt. Calvary, WI. He was ordained as a Capuchin-Franciscan Priest on June 23, 1943 at St. Mary's Church, Marathon, WI. To prepare for priestly service and continue extensive post-ordination study, he attended St. Lawrence Seminary, Mt. Calvary, WI; Mary Immaculate Seminary, Garrison, NY; St. Anthony Seminary, Marathon, WI; George Washington University and the Preacher's Institute of Catholic University, Washington, D.C.
Fr. Stegman achieved two Master's degrees (International Studies and Education) from George Washington University.
After ordination, Father Stegman was assigned to parish and youth work in Michigan and Wisconsin. He gave retreats to the laity at Monte Alverno Retreat House in Appleton, WI and was a home missionary for almost three years. During that time, he preached parish missions and gave days of recollection and retreats to lay people and religious throughout the mid-western states.
Father Stegman entered the U.S. Army Reserve in 1948 and later served as chaplain of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
In April 1950, Chaplain Stegman activated as an Army chaplain and fulfilled assignments at several stateside Army posts and stations. He served in Japan and Korea during 1950-1951 and in Europe for six years.
Chaplain Stegman served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. His duties at every level of the Army included assignments at 3rd Infantry Division; U. S. Army Air Defense Command, U. S. Army Vietnam; 3rd Army; Headquarters, Forces Command; and U. S. Army Materiel Command. He is a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College and the Army War College.
Chaplain Stegman retired in the grade of Colonel on May 31, 1977. His awards and decorations include two Silver Stars, Purple Heart, three Legions of Merit, Bronze Star, Korean Distinguished Unit Citation, German and Japanese occupation medals, Korean Service Medal (with four battle stars), United Nations medal for service in Korea, and two American defense ribbons.
After retiring from the Army in 1977, Father Stegman remained in the Washington, DC area and ministered energetically in both civilian and military parishes. In 1988, he moved to San Antonio, Texas. There he continued a three-state supervision of World Wide Marriage Encounter as well as parish ministry in local churches. He participated extensively in local, state, and national Veterans Service Organizations, including the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA). He served as National Chaplain for KWVA from Sept 2005 to June 2007 and National Chaplain for MOPH from August 2004 to August 2006.
During his service in San Antonio, Father Stegman celebrated the Mass for the Korean community and was instrumental in obtaining a native Korean pastor for the congregation as they began to establish and build their Korean parish. Father Stegman also supported Deacon Philip Kim in his response to the call and to his ordination to priesthood.
71 Years a Priest, “Father Len” served the military community by celebrating the Mass at Randolph Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Air Force Base. He served as Chaplain Emeritus of both the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Korean War Veterans Association. In the civilian community, he ministered to the local congregations at St. Monica's and St. Pius X in the diocese of San Antonio, Texas and celebrated daily Mass at the Incarnate Word Village Community.
He was the recipient of the David E. White Lifetime Achievement Award from the Military Chaplains of America. The award recognized that chaplain that best personifies by spirit and acts, the concept of “Chaplain for Life”.
Fr. Stegman is survived by his sister Estelle Huelskamp (Leroy) of Fowler KS, and 70 nephews and nieces. Attending the funeral are Congressman Tim Huelskamp (KS), Tom Huelskamp (KS), Leonard Stegman (CO), Chuck Stegman (CA), Daniel Stegman (WA), Susan Pittman (WA), Sandy Whitlatch (AZ), Jeanne Goodwin (AZ), Linda Minnick (CO), Tony Naab (CA) and Frank Stegman (MN).
All Military Chaplains attending the funeral are to be at Pius X Church no later than 10AM for Procession of Chaplains/Pastors.
• In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Capuchin Franciscans in Detroit, 1740 Mount Elliott St., Detroit, MI 48207 and to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, Inc. 7008 Little River Turnpike PO Box 49, Annandale, VA 22003
Visitation and Rosary: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 7:00 p.m. at Chapel Of The Incarnate Word At 4301 Broadway San Antonio, Texas
Funeral Mass: Thursday, August 21, 2014 At 11:00 a.m. at Pius X Catholic Church At 3909 Harry Wurzbach, San Antonio, Texas 78209
Interment With Full Military Honors: Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach Road, San Antonio, Tx 78209