Steve was born in Salina, Kansas, on March 6, 1936, but spent most of his childhood and all of his teenage years in Wamego, Kansas. Steve graduated from Wamego High School and then attended Kansas State University where he was a proud member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and graduated with a degree in agriculture.
Following college, Steve served in the Army Reserve as an artillery officer and started his career with Staley Milling Company in Kansas City. Relocating to Salina, KS, he began an illustrious career in the grain industry, working for the Evans Grain Company for over thirty years, as general manager, followed by Koch Industries in Wichita, KS, and CEO of United Services Association in Des Moines, IA. After retiring, Steve became a corporate leadership coach, helping develop emerging leaders in the Salina/Solomon area.
Steve is survived by his children: Betsy Horn (David) of Edmond, OK; Phil Bressler (Lailan) of Overland Park, KS; Molly Kerr of Leawood, KS; Amy Belew (Wes) of Sparks, MD; and by his stepchildren: Lynn Sweeney (Stuart) of Linwood, KS; Lori Hinnen (David) of Towanda, KS; and Rex Swartz (Brittney) of Prairie Village, KS. Steve is also survived by grandchildren: Matthew Jorgensen (Meghan), Callie Albert (Michael), Ryan Bressler (Erin), Katie Davis (Andrew), Kai Bressler (Molly), Jacob Sweeney, Maggie Swartz, Anita Cerney (Kendall), Amanda Crouch (Mitchell), Campbell Kerr, Andy Sweeney, Oscar Swartz, A.J. Hinnen (Summer), Annie Kerr, and Libby Sweeney. Also surviving Steve are six great-grandchildren.
Always a planner, Steve entered Heaven in the early evening, just in time to attend a perfectly set Thanksgiving dinner with those who preceded him in death: his beloved wife and love of his life, Nancy; his parents, Norman and Dorothy Bressler; and his brother, Alex Bressler.
Steve cherished spending time with family and friends, and he also enjoyed golfing, traveling, reading, and running or walking outside, which he referred to as his “communion with nature.” Steve was an accomplished athlete and an avid sports fan.
Steve was an innately kind, effortlessly funny, one-of-a-kind man who didn’t know a stranger, and his zest for life was contagious. Steve frequently and jubilantly exclaimed, “You gotta be optimistic,” and he truly lived by those words. One of Steve’s greatest passions was being a father, as he was a loving and consistent inspiration for all of his children throughout his life. Steve was affectionately called “Opa” by his fifteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, but they also knew him as the Treat Guy, Report Card Guy, Monkey Club President, Bresslerthon Director, and Wally the Werewolf. Steve loved children, and kiddos far and wide were treated to his memorable Santa and Farmer Bob performances. Because Steve devoted his life to loving others, he touched many lives. He loved well and was well-loved in return.
There will be a celebration of life at Christ Cathedral in Salina, Kansas, on Saturday, December 10th at 11:00 a.m.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to Saint Francis Ministries. 110 W. Otis Avenue, Salina, KS, 67401 saintfrancisministries.org