Our beloved and wonderful Stephen John Kaiser was taken to Heaven at 12:44 am February 19. Coming home after three successive and intense hospital stays was a highlight moment in the midst of a fast and ravaging cancer. Gathering around him for prayer and worship and singing and thanksgiving and displaying to him our deepest love and gratitude filled our lives and home for two whole days, while grandchildren played and conversations flowed and precious friends lovingly came and went all in the same room. To describe the sorrow but also the gratitude in our hearts is beyond words. We came home pleading for a mighty miracle of healing, and our Father gave us THE mighty miracle of Steve’s transport from here to THERE!
Our precious Steve was born July 30, 1944 to Henry and Margaret Kaiser in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin where he had the privilege of becoming the oldest of twelve children. He always said he grew up outside playing and creating adventures with his siblings. After high school he graduated from Wisconsin State University at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He then went to Loyola University in Chicago to pursue a Master’s degree in Classical Studies. While there he felt the lure of the Peace Corps and joined in with a group of teachers being assigned to Bogota, Colombia, South America in 1967. His wife-to-be, Judith Ann Scholl, was in that same group. One glorious day when he was going to the cafeteria on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles (where Peace Corps training was being held), Judy was coming out of that same cafeteria. He greeted her with “Buenos dias, Señorita” and from that moment their lives changed. They got engaged in Bogota after both sets of parents had traveled there.
They married after returning home from the completion of Peace Corps during a thirty day leave that Steve requested before being sent to Seoul, South Korea having been drafted into the Army. He served in the military three years with his final assignment being at Fort Benjamin Harrison. While there Jonathan Andrew was born. After completing his duty and earning many Army medals, he was hired to teach Spanish at Southport High School in Indianapolis. During this time he finished his Masters degree at IUPUI in secondary education and was persuaded to continue study for his doctorate. Required to spend a year at Bloomington campus he was enabled by the Lord to complete his course work, take his written and oral doctoral exams, and write and publish his dissertation all in his one remaining year of the GI bill. While in Bloomington Philip Stephen was born.
He then brought his family to Connersville in 1977 to serve as assistant principal at CHS. After assuming the role of principal in 1981, he planted his family on the farm that had been in Judy’s family, and his children became the seventh generation to live there. In 1985 Susanna Maria was born, and his family has lived on this spot ever since.
Steve poured his life into making dreams come true—loving and caring for his family, making a toy room their first room ready in their house, building a tree fort as a surprise while his family was visiting grandparents, designing and constructing a play house, planting a 1,000 tree woods so his grandchildren could meander trails and visit a forest fairy’s cottage, rigging up a zip line, positioning a trampoline amongst pine trees where handmade swings and picnic table were placed as well, fixing up the summer kitchen for parties and Thanksgiving gatherings, putting up tire swings, building a sand volleyball court, putting in a swimming pool, teaching us to mow, and typing and laminating Scripture memory cards, reading devotions to us, rocking wee ones, and countless other acts of humble service.
At CHS Steve loved his teachers and staff and worked to undergird them all he could, whether flowers at Valentine’s day, little notes, sending them to a conference they wanted to attend, or sharing time together at the annual pig roast at his home. He established ISTAR to recognize teachers and their students and the Honor Graduate status to motivate high performance among students. He created the Center for Performance Learning to help students earn their diploma in another setting.
After retiring from public school, Steve had the pleasure of serving as principal of Temple Christian School for four years. He got to love students from pre-school to high school. It was his joy to purchase and set up the computer lab there so students could be given an even broader curriculum.
Steve was a man of great integrity and steadfastness. His calm, soothing spirit and massive abilities to take care of everything made life for his family so peaceful and worry free. He loved helping out his children with anything at their homes and playing with his grandchildren in such loving ways. Helping Judy care for her mother in their home for a little over 16 years was so Christ-honoring. His example of prayer and Bible study will forever inspire us. We cannot thank God enough for giving us Steve Kaiser.
Steve is preceded in death by his and Judy’s parents and one sister Carol. Waiting someday to see him again are his wife Judy, his son Jonathan and wife Mary and children Luke and Claire, his son Philip, his daughter Susanna and her husband John and their children Caleb, Glory, and Hannah Rose, his ten brothers and sisters and their families, and Judy’s four brothers and sisters and their families.
A memorial service to worship our Lord and celebrate Steve’s life will take place on March 21 at 3:00pm at Baptist Temple (This day is Steve and Judy’s 50th wedding anniversary). Following the service will be a time of food and fellowship and visitation with Steve’s family. Steve had just been asked to drive a van to pick up children for Awana at CBT and also to serve on the executive board of the Hope Center. He would surely be delighted to be able still to bless these endeavors through any memorial contributions.
We are so grateful to Steve Robbins for his loving assistance to us in this very hard time, and we want to say how deeply grateful we are for every prayer uttered for our family. We are so humbled by the love and concern. Thank you and may God repay you for this most cherished kindness.