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Karl Steckelberg, blooming prairie, mn
Karl Steckelberg is shown with Blooming Prairie VFW Auxiliary members Judy Lestrud, Sherrie Pechan, and Dorene Blome, on Poppy Day. Staff photo by Howard Lestrud
Steckelberg lived his life to the fullest
Howard Lestrud, Contributing Writer
Howard Lestrud, Reflections

The small town of Blooming Prairie is still in shock following the unexpected death of Karl Steckelberg at the young age of 44.

Karl was highly involved in the Merry Lane 4-H Club, the Blooming Prairie youth sports, high school sports, and helping youngsters with their 4-H projects.

Karl’s faith was important to him. He was a member of the St. Columbanus Catholic Church in Blooming Prairie.

Steckelberg was an assistant football and wrestling coach for the Awesome Blossoms. He was part of the coaching staff that led the Awesome Blossoms to the Class A state championship.

I did not know Karl, but I feel I did know him well after hearing and reading all the accolades directed to his young life. He stacked lots of meaningful contributions for his family, friends and other acquaintances.

My most memorable contact with Karl just happened to be happenstance. It was last fall, when I was assigned the duty of taking a photograph for an upcoming issue of the Steele County Times.

Members of the Blooming Prairie VFW Auxiliary were giving out poppies. Now, all I had to do, in addition to pressing the shutter on the camera, was to find a volunteer who could play the role of a customer.

I went into Casey’s store and asked those inside if any would be part of a photo for an upcoming issue of the Steele County Times.

Karl quickly agreed. That was the kind of guy he was, I am told. He would step up to the plate when needed.

Karl also had a passion for crop farming and raising livestock, and my other contact with Karl was from my backyard deck, watching him plant corn with his two children, Alexis and Grady. The day I saw him hard at work helping the FFA, he was experiencing trouble. He stayed with it, however and got the field planted.

It was unreal to see a reported 1,200 persons attending his visitation on Thursday, April 25, and his funeral on April 26.

Karl and I did have something in common. We were both born at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea. Thus, we were called “Naeve babies.”

Thank you, Karl, for sharing your meaningful life with us. You will never be forgotten. 

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