As a teacher and coach, Bill Steneker supported countless young people throughout his life. Although Bill passed away in 1998, the Steneker family continues to support North Iowa students though the Steneker Family Fund.
Steneker faced a challenging childhood and youth but receive help from many people. His father, a dentist, died while Bill was an infant, but his father’s friends who were also dentist cared for his teeth without charge as he grew up. He attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, during the Depression and worked to pay his way through while living in a small dorm area above the gymnasium. Bill knew personally the difficulty of financing a college education, and he started the Steneker Family Fund in 1984 to help others meet this challenge.
Virginia Steneker, Bill’s wife, also knew the challenges of paying for an education. She taught school in rural Iowa for several years while saving to attend Parsons College; however, she lost her savings in a bank closing during the Depression.
Bill, Virginia and their daughter, Suzanne, moved to Mason City in 1951 when Bill joined the staff of Mason City High School. He coached the Mohawk basketball team from 1951 to 1960. Bill enhanced and expanded the physical education program during his tenure at Mason City High School, adding programs, such as archery, swimming, bowling, roller skating, and square dancing to the PE curriculum. He liked to keep kids busy and active.
In addition to coaching and teaching, Bill had numerous hobbies. He particularly enjoyed pheasant hunting with Suzanne in North Iowa. In 1999, Suzanne Steneker McRoberts, now a St. Louis resident, donated a framed print by artist David A. Maass titled The Old Fencerow – Pheasants to NIACC in her parents’ honor and in memory of the many hours she spent pheasant hunting with her father.
Virginia has been an active volunteer for the schools. For nine years, she tutored first through third-graders in reading at Garfield School. Virginia was involved in the Jefferson Elementary School PTA and is a member of PEO Chapter IY and the Sorosis Guide Study Club.
Virginia said, “Bill was passionate about students and education. I want children to get a good education and appreciate what they have.” The Stenekers have made a better education possible for NIACC students through the establishment of their scholarship.