John Felix Steg

John Steg

John Steg, age 89, passed away in his sleep peacefully at home in Oroville. He was born to Alseit and Elsie Steg in Sandpoint, Idaho where he experienced several outdoor adventures.

Both he and his brother Bob’s childhood antics can even be found in some of Patrick McManus’ stories of outdoor life in northern Idaho. John’s own colorful stories included: fish tales, hunting, camping and bear stories. John wore many hats over the course of his life. He was a Sailor, Lineman, Radio Repairman, Packing Boss, Boy Scout Master, Beekeeper, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Great-Great-Grandfather and Storyteller.

During World War II, he served as an electronic technician on the USS Mt. Olympus, an amphibious force command ship in the Pacific. It was just outside of Tokyo right after the bomb was dropped, riding out big storm waves. His patriotism was modeled to and expected of his family.

The call of his Swiss beekeeping heritage and independent spirit lead him to grow his hobby to a beekeeping business. He met the love of his life and married his honey Betty Buhr on Feb. 27, 1948. For seven years he worked as a Lineman for Mountain States Power Company in Bonner County. They moved to Oroville in 1955, with three children, to become commercial beekeepers, serving area fruit growers for the next 41 years. During the next 16 years, John was also a packing foreman for Stadelman Fruit Company as his family grew to five children. In 1970 he added California almond pollination to the mix of beekeeping and honey production. John and Betty included their children and grandchildren in the daily beekeeping operations, teaching them not only the art of beekeeping, but also added life lessons.

He was active in community organizations, serving several years in the Oroville Grange, and the American Legion. As an avid Outdoorsman, he made a lasting impression on several young men as a Boy Scout Master. He enjoyed being the Grand Marshall at the Oroville May Day parade with a Bee theme. He served as a lay minister at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. After retiring he and Betty traveled around the United States on many adventures seeing places and events. They helped with Catholic missions in Arizona, Mexico and Guatemala.

John had a knack for telling stories about the events in his life that would always captivate his audiences. Family sing-alongs included John on the accordion, with Betty playing the piano. He loved to dance with his wife, even in the living room of their home. In the last 14 years, his zest for life carried him through despite the complications of a stroke. He will be missed, yet his legacy will live on.

He was preceded in death by his parents: Alsiet and Elsie; Brother, Robert; and son, Henry.

He is Survived by his wife Betty of 64 years; children: Don Steg, Lynn and Bob Johnson, of Oroville, Janet and Roger Dormaier of Lynden, Wash., and Susan and Kim Edwards of Kettle Falls, Wash.; 10 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren.

Rosary service will be held on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 at 7 p.m. and Funeral Mass is Saturday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. at the Oroville Catholic Church. Following Mass there will be a military graveside service at the Oroville Riverview Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the charity of choice. Please share your memories by signing John’s on line guest book at

Bergh Funeral Service of Oroville/Tonasket in care of arrangements.