Herbert R. Steffens
Nov. 11, 1929 – Jan. 4, 2015
Longtime, former Nevada educator, Herb Steffens, passed away on January 4, 2015, at home in St. Helena, California. Herb was born on November 11, 1929, in Pocatello, Idaho, to parents Herbert and Botilla Steffens. He attended schools in Pocatello and graduated from Pocatello High School in 1947. From 1948 to 1951 he pursued higher education at Idaho State College and the University of Utah. Following graduation he served with the U.S. Army and was stationed in Berlin. After military service in Germany he began a career in education teaching in Wallace, Idaho. In 1956 he moved to Reno to teach secondary math at Reno High School. This experience led to a distinguished career in service to Nevada schools. In 1959 the Nevada Department of Education tapped him to work as Math Consultant to teachers throughout the state. After several years in the curriculum area, he assumed a coordination position as Nevada’s representative to the Western States Small Schools Project. The program focused on career preparation models for students in grades 9-12 who were attending small high schools. The plan became known as “The Integrated Career Development Curriculum Project” and was used in the participating western states. When the project concluded in 1974 he returned to the Department of Education as the new Director of Education Accountability. Later he transitioned to another Department leadership position as the Director of Planning, Research and Evaluation. He continued in this position for the state until retiring. Herb married Reno native Margaret Grassini in 1962. For most of their years together they resided in Carson City. Vacations and free time were spent in favorite places Carmel and the Lake Tahoe area. Upon retirement in 1998 they relocated to St. Helena in Napa Valley. They enjoyed 47 years together until Margaret’s death in 2009. Herb was an outdoors enthusiast who enjoyed the beauty of northern Nevada, gardening, camping, desert exploration and playing bocce. While traveling in Europe was a favorite post-retirement highlight, he was just as happy sipping a glass of wine at home and watching the San Francisco 49ers. Valuing and laughing with friends brought him great pleasure. Herb was an avid reader and poker player with both activities part of his regular routine. Herb was preceded in death by his wife Margaret, his parents, sister Jean Hohenfield and brothers James and Robert. He is survived by sisters Claire Jacobson of Monmouth, Maine and Carol (Tom) Houston of Cloverdale, California; sister-in-law Barbara Steffens of Benton City, Washington; numerous nieces and nephews; extended family in Nevada, Idaho, and California; and many friends in Carson City, Reno and St. Helena. A memorial service will be held at a future date to be determined.