Obituary: William R. Steigerwald / Realtor, stockbroker, patriarch of media family

June 7, 1920 - May 4, 2008

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Growing up in the Scott home of William R. and Kathryn Steigerwald meant a daily dose of news, sports, jazz and political opinion for the couple's five children.

Pittsburgh's newspapers and radio stations provided the news, sports and jazz. The opinion was solely the work of Mr. Steigerwald, one of the first subscribers to William F. Buckley's National Review in 1955 and a faithful watcher of Buckley's "Firing Line" and "The David Susskind Show" on public television.

Mr. Steigerwald died at 87 Sunday at The Covenant of South Hills hospice after a long illness.

As a friend of Bill Steigerwald, associate editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and former Post-Gazette staff writer, I met his father on numerous occasions. It was clear to see how his forceful yet gently humorous personality made its mark on his children, all of whom have worked in the media business:

Sons John (TV and radio talk shows), Paul (Penguins broadcaster) and Dan (blues-rock musician) and daughter Mary (newspaper and magazine writer in New Mexico).

"It was a media-centric household," Bill Steigerwald said. "Every day my dad read all three Pittsburgh newspapers when there were three, subscribed to The Sporting News and brought home The Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News for the sports columns."

Mr. Steigerwald made no apologies for his conservative politics and made sure I knew it. Our bantering about Democrats and Republicans was as much a part of the outings as the potato salad.

"The thing that all of us got from him was never to accept conventional wisdom, but always question everything," said John Steigerwald. "You might call that being cynical, but it was more that he just had a curious and questioning nature."

Short and wiry, he was an outstanding baseball player and golfer as well as an inveterate sports fan, at one time a season ticket holder to the Pirates, Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh football team.

He played his golf at Churchill Valley Country Club and the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Golf Course, where he worked at the pro shop and as the starter after retirement from careers as a stockbroker and Realtor in the Pittsburgh area.

A 1937 graduate of Oliver High School, North Side, Mr. Steigerwald was a Navy veteran of World War II, serving in the Pacific. He also was an avid follower of such jazz greats as Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and kept the family radio tuned to Pittsburgh's jazz stations between news and sports, said his son.

He is survived by his widow, children, 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services are private.


Bob Hoover can be reached at bhoover@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1634.


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