Steven Lehrl Fritz was born Mar. 19, 1948, to Lehrl and Lucile Hays Fritz. He grew up on a farm near Lynnville and attended Grinnell High School. After graduating, he attended Simpson College in Indianola where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and sang tenor in the Simpson College Madrigal. Following graduation, he traveled for Simpson as an admissions officer before joining Swanco Enterprises as a sales representative for Wood-Mode cabinetry. For 41 years, he designed and sold kitchens and baths, later becoming president and owner of the company. He loved his job and was a natural salesman because of his delightful joy-giving spirit and outgoing personality.
On Nov. 25, 1972, he married Jane Ann Dale in Brooklyn. To this union three children were born. His family was his greatest treasure. For over 40 years, he enthusiastically played Santa Claus on Christmas Eve for the children in his life, sharing the magic of Christmas with a boisterous ho-ho-ho, jingle bells in hand, and a twinkle in his eye. He was his children’s greatest soccer fan and was an early member of the Marshalltown Community Soccer Club Board. He loved camping, boating, snow skiing, cooking, and entertaining. He especially enjoyed the family cabin in the Ozarks where he created many memories with his friends and family. He had dreams of building an elaborate treehouse there for his four grandsons.
Among the things for which he will most be remembered is his beautiful tenor voice and his love of singing. For many years he sang in the choir of the First United Methodist Church of Marshalltown where he was a popular soloist at weddings and funerals, and singing “Oh Holy Night” on Christmas Eve.
He died on May 9, 2014, in Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Joanne Merritt.
He is survived by his wife, Jane Fritz of Marshalltown; one daughter, Kim (Christian) Guenther of Marshall, MN; two sons: Nathan (Lindsey) Fritz of Kansas City, MO, and Ryan (Marci) Fritz of Kansas City, MO; four grandsons: McCoy, Coby, and Cade Guenther, and Dexter Fritz; one brother, Chuck (Marcie) Fritz of Waukon; one brother-in-law, Roger Merritt of Kingsport, TN; multiple nieces, nephews, in-laws, and innumerable friends.
Funeral services were held May 15 at First United Methodist Church, Marshalltown. Interment was in Bethel Cemetery north of Lynnville.