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Wayne “Coach” Steffenhagen, 79, of Weston passed away on Thursday, February 18, 2021, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
Wayne was born on April 30, 1941, in Lake City, MN to the late Dorance and Julia (Tiedeman) Steffenhagen. After completing high school, Wayne went on to study at the University of Minnesota. It was there that he met the love of his life and wife, Sondra Spencer. Together they raised three wonderful children, Kelly, Jay, and Todd.
To many, Wayne was known as Coach, the legendary D.C. Everest football coach who led his team out onto the field for 33 years. To his family, he was a humble man from humble beginnings. He grew up on the family farm in Lake City, Minnesota. It was there that he learned about hard work and tenacity. After completing his studies at the UMN, Coach began his journey in teaching physical education. He had a gift for helping his students recognize their strengths, even when they couldn’t see it themselves. He was consistent, engaging, and always willing to share his advice. He loved working with the youth in his community. He wanted to motivate them, to push them to be the very best that they could be, and they were. Wayne was a great partner to Sondra for 56 years. Together they enjoyed going to Door County and Arizona, spending time with their family and friends - always helping each other to be the very best versions of themselves. To his children, he was a consistent and loving father who was supportive, always available, who shared with them his love, his time, and his knowledge of life. For his grandchildren, he was a loving and doting man who made it a point to support them in any activity that they participated in. To his community, he was an inspiration, a legacy, a man who has helped mentor countless students and athletes to become the very best version of themselves. He was a man who loved to cheer on his state teams, a car fanatic, someone who took great pride in his yard; always making sure the grass was perfect. He enjoyed looking for motivational sayings and using them in his everyday life. Wayne Steffenhagen was an important part of our community and while his physical presence will be missed, his legacy will live on in the hearts and memories of the lives he has touched.
Wayne is survived by his loving wife, Sondra; his children Kelly (Jim) Essman, Jay, and Todd (Vicki) Steffenhagen; grandchildren, Nathan (Imane Benchekroun) Essman, Marina Essman, Matthew Essman, and Andrew (Kellen Baker) Steffenhagen and Hannah (Sophie Love) Steffenhagen; grand-pups, Lexie, Bodhi, Winny, and Rainy; his brother-in-law, Todd (Debbi) Spencer; his uncle Ray Tiedeman; nephews, Mike and Blake (Stephanie) Tiedeman and Matt (Brooke) Spencer; nieces, Stephanie Spencer and Jacki Coates; as well as many cousins and relatives in MN, WI, CO, and CA.
A private family service will take place at Brainard Funeral Home-Everest Chapel. Pastor Richard Block will officiate. A recording of the service will be available on his obituary page beginning Sunday, March 7. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. Family and friends are asked to go to www.brainardfuneral.com to leave online condolences and words of remembrance. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorials.
The family wishes to thank the community for their continued love and support. He repeated this often, “I feel lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to teach and coach so many quality young men.”
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