Lyle Ernest Steltz was born Nov. 11, 1933, in Melrose Township near Big Stone City, S.D., to Ernest and Charlotte (Kamin) Steltz.
Lyle attended Ortonville Elementary school and eventually moved to Braham, Minn., where he graduated from Braham High School. Lyle started his lifelong career of bricklaying by attending vocational school in St. Paul, Minn. He met and married Jean Heckeroth May 14, 1955, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rush City.
After their marriage, the couple made their home in Moundsview for a short time, where Lyle had built a new home. Jean longed for the farm, and in 1959 they purchased the Heckeroth family farm, where Lyle farmed and had dairy cows. With masonry beckoning, Lyle sold the dairy cows and started working as a bricklayer. He built brick and stone fireplaces and installed “Wilkening” brand wood burning fireplaces throughout the area. During his lifetime, Lyle continued to crop farm and maintain a beef cattle herd.
Lyle had a strong work ethic, which had a large impact on his life. He was a loyal, dedicated friend to many. He worked long hours as a bricklayer but still found time to serve his community. An active Lions Club member, Lyle enjoyed handing out fruit baskets and cutting wood for those in need. He received the Melvin Jones Fellow award twice in his lifetime.
Serving on the Chisago County Fair Board, Lyle acted as their secretary from 1971 to 2004. Lyle loved to be involved in the County Fair pedal pulls. He was asked to join the Minnesota State Fair Board and served from 1993 to 2008, which he enjoyed immensely. Lyle served as president of the Minnesota State Fair in 2007, and he and Jean were often seen riding around the state fairgrounds in their four-wheeler.
In 1996, Lyle was awarded the Rush City Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award for his dedication and commitment to Rush City. He received the International Association of Fairs Heritage Award in 1997 and the Red Cross seven-gallon blood donation distinction in 2003.
Lyle also served as a director on the East Central Energy Cooperative board and was a charter member of the Rush City Jaycees.
He enjoyed working with his hands and was creative with wood and steel. Lyle received his first John Deere tractor in 1947, and the love affair began. He collected full-sized tractors and miniatures. In later years, Lyle began to roast pigs in his custom pig roaster. On one occasion, the opening of the Fairview Clinic in Rush City, Lyle roasted 800 pounds of pork.
Lyle is survived by his wife, Jean; children: Bonnie (Neil) Anderson, Lake Elmo, Minn.; Rick (Holly) Steltz, Rush City, Minn.; Ron (Marni) Steltz, Braham, Minn.; Ken Steltz , Rush City, Minn; his grandchildren: Joel Anderson (Anya Feichtl), Billings, Mont., Greg (Carl Berdahl) Anderson, Los Angeles; Jeff Anderson (Libby Smith), Minneapolis; Heather (Egidijus Silenskis) Silenskiene, Denver; Andrew Steltz, Rush City, Minn.; Savannah Mans, Hugo, Minn.; Lauren Steltz, Braham, Minn.; Ella Steltz, Braham, Minn; great grandson Wyatt Mans, Hugo, Minn.
Lyle is preceded in death by his parents, Charlotte and Ernest Steltz; sister, Norma (Donald) Pollack; and brother-in-law, Jerry Heckeroth.
Reverend Laurie OShea officiated a memorial service at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rush City. Visitation was held one hour prior to the service at the church. Eulogists were grandsons Joel Anderson and Jeff Anderson. Music was provided by Dianne Kirchberg and Greg Anderson. Burial will take place at a later date in the St. Johns Lutheran Cemetery at Rush Lake.
Memorials may be directed to the Rush City Food Shelf or Rush City Cares.
Arrangements for Lyle Steltz are entrusted to the Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City~ Olson Chapel, www.funeralandcremationservice.com.