Cover photo for Francis C Steiner's Obituary
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1925 Francis 2011

Francis C Steiner

August 20, 1925 — March 28, 2011

Francis C. Steiner, age 85, of Granton died at 6:15 PM, March 28, 2011, at Neillsville Care and Rehab.Funeral services will be at 11:00 AM, Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Neillsville with burial in Windfall Cemetery at Granton. Visitation will be from 4-8 PM, Friday, April 1, 2011 at Gesche Funeral Home in Neillsville and then again on Saturday at the church from 9:00AM until service time. A Knights of Columbus Rosary will be held Friday at 7:30 PM at the funeral home. Loyal American Legion Post 175 will conduct military rites at the cemetery.Francis was born to Alfred and Dorothy (Petrowitz) Steiner on August 20, 1925 at Mauston, Wisconsin. He attended country school and graduated from Mauston High School in 1943. He later earned a degree in agriculture from Platteville University. After high school graduation, he worked two years on the home dairy farm and was then drafted into the Army and spent his service time at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Little Rock, Arkansas. Following an honorable discharge, he returned home and enrolled in Platteville University. He married Jeanette M. Hales on July 9, 1953 at St. Stephens's Catholic Church in Chili. They have lived in Granton their entire married life.Francis spent 39 years teaching agriculture classes at the Granton High School. He retired in 1988 and then taught in the agricultural department of Mid-State Technical College in Marshfield for 10 years. To service Central Wisconsin farmers, he was a part time State Certified seed inspector for 50 years. He was known for his public relations work which included doing a farm interview radio show, "Let's Visit Your Neighbor", on WCCN radio for 23 years and being a local area newspaper reporter for over 40 years. This included his weekly quip in The Country Today. He spoke at farm banquets throughout West Central Wisconsin for over 25 years. He was a lector in his church and taught a weekly catechism class when his children were young. He and his wife, with the help of his family, operated Steiner's Variety Store in Granton from 1972 to 1982. Francis was active in many organizations including the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association where he served as Wisconsin State President in 1995-96, Knights of Columbus, Loyal American Legion Post 175, Clark County Historical Society, Granton Rotary Club (a Paul Harris Fellow), National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield (where he helped set up the farm hearing test for rural youth), Wisconsin Association of Vocational Agriculture Instructors (WAVAI), Wisconsin Retired Teachers Association and the Granton Park committee. He was also an active member of the Clark County Fair and served on the Fair Board from 1956 to 2000. In 1986 the state named him the Top Fairman of the State for his active participation in the fair. Francis won many awards in his agricultural endeavors which included honorary awards and legislative citations. In 1977 he was named Wisconsin's Outstanding FFA Alumni member; 1983 Granton's Honored Citizen; 1985 Wisconsin's Vo-Ag Teacher of the Year; 1986 Wisconsin Easter Seal Volunteer of the Year; 2000 Granton Fall Festival's Parade Marshall and Founder's Award for his 50 years of service; 2000 Wisconsin VIP award for his FFA accomplishments; and 2006 Wisconsin Association of FFA Hall of Fame Inductee.Francis spent countless hours helping his students achieve top honors and winning grand champion animal ribbons in the show-ring. He trained two national soil judging teams. He was just as elated to see "his" kids win as they were. Francis was known in Central Wisconsin as "Mr. FFA."Francis always listed his top achievements as being named one of the top six agriculture instructors in the nation by his peers; writing a 200 page book entitled Recollections of a Country Kid which sold over 1500 copies; originating the well known Granton Fall Festival for which he chaired for 50 years; serving as Wisconsin FFA Alumni president and organizing and teaching the largest farm night class in the entire State with over 100 farmers enrolled. Survivors include his wife, Jeanette of Granton; his five children, Sharon (Orville) Garbisch of Granton; Greg (Wendy) Steiner, White Bear Lake, MN; Kevin (Linda) Steiner of West Bend; Sheila Fenolio of Appleton; and Ann (Jim) Maastricht of Sun Prairie. Also fourteen Grandchildren: Kristen, Becky, Ben, Aaron, Ellie, Peter, Andrew, Logan, Jack, Liz, Will, Chris, Darin, and Carmin,. He will be deeply missed by his children as they awaited each week for his down home family newsletter that he has written to them since 1976. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his name to Funds to enhance the new Granton School Forest (located next to the School buildings); National Farm Medicine Research Center or the Parkinson Foundation. Online Condolences may be made at www.geschefh.com. The Gesche Funeral Home is assisting Francis's family with Funeral arrangements. Funeral Home:Gesche Funeral Home4 South Grand AvenueNeillsville, WIUS 54456
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