Widower, 94, honors wife's memory with Valentine's lunch

Jen Schmidt/Nevada Appeal News Service Henry Vom Steeg, 94, still admits that he loves the ladies. Vom Steeg hosts a lunch for the ladies of his church every year on Valentine's Day to honor his wife, who died in 2002.

Jen Schmidt/Nevada Appeal News Service Henry Vom Steeg, 94, still admits that he loves the ladies. Vom Steeg hosts a lunch for the ladies of his church every year on Valentine's Day to honor his wife, who died in 2002.

On Valentine's Day 73 years ago, 20-year-old Henry Vom Steeg gave an engagement ring to a 19-year-old nursing student and asked her to marry him.

Henry and Agnes Vom Steeg were married June 23 of that same year and had three sons during their marriage.

"Valentine's Day always had a special meaning for us," Vom Steeg said. "We had a great life together."

So when his wife of 67 years passed away in 2002, Vom Steeg decided he wanted to do something special to honor her on Valentine's Day.

He decided to invite the ladies from his church - the Kings Beach United Methodist Church - to be his guest at a Valentine's luncheon.

"That first year we had nine and it was at the Biltmore," Vom Steeg said.

The lunch will be held this year at Jason's restaurant in Kings Beach, just like it has been for the past three years, said Kathryn Dunning, pastor of the Vorn Steeg's church.

Twenty-eight ladies attended last year's Valentine's Day luncheon.

Vom Steeg said he has now included ladies that have even moved out of the area to Auburn and some other locations, so only 28 were able to attend last year due to bad weather. Vom Steeg said it was the first year weather had prevented anyone from attending his luncheon.

Vom Steeg recently celebrated his 94th birthday and is always the envy of everyone else in the restaurant as he proudly attends to all of his guests.

"Henry is always so upbeat, full of fun and devoted to this faith," said Ruth Steele, a member of the church who has attended all of the luncheons.

His long-time neighbor and friend, Ruth Sandin, has also always been included in the lunches.

"I've known Henry for over 50 years," Sandin said. "We knew each other in the Bay Area and Henry told my husband about the lot he bought up here and we decided to buy right next door."

Vom Steeg admits he got a little carried away with his invitations this year as he looked through his list and counted up 44 ladies.

When asked what he plans to do if they all show up, he did not seem too worried, saying he already had 22 that would be attending for sure.

What about next year's luncheon?

"We will keep going as long as we can," Vom Steeg said.

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