John F. Steiger Jr., 74, of Baker City died May 15, 2016 at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday, May 21st at the First Lutheran Church in Baker City with Pastor Ian Wolfe officiating. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.\n\nFirst things first: John Steiger died on Sunday, May 15th in Boise. It's a harsh and cruel truth for all those he left behind, but those of us who knew him well know that we ought to be watching out for one heck of a punch line. If someone out there was going to make a joke out of death, it would be John. There was nothing he liked more than spreading joy and whimsy to the people he met. Some of his stories and jokes missed the mark - full disclosure: as his son, I always thought that far too many of his stories and jokes missed the mark - but it is undeniable that they came from a deep well-spring of joy within his soul that was always trying to break out into the world.\n\nJohn was born to parents John and Christine Steiger in 1942 in Tucson, Arizona. Around 1950, the family, now expanded with John's sister Christine, moved to Southern California. John attended Covina High School, where he graduated in 1960, before going on to California State Polytechnic University in Pomona to study Civil Engineering. John had a lifelong passion for education, but school was not his strength. He often commented on the fact that he did not learn to read until he was in the fourth grade, and calculus proved his nemesis in college. Though the path was winding, John completed his Bachelor of Science degree and went to work for Boise's Morrison Knudsen, a company he was proud to serve as a Civil Engineer and Cost Estimator for more than 36 years, the vast majority of his professional life.\n\nThose who knew John can probably agree about two defining features: he was an amputee and he had a powerful sense of humor. The two were linked. John lost his leg to cancer at 28 years old when given a choice between the leg and his life. Having faced that choice, he committed himself to loving the life that he had chosen. As he often said, "if it sounded fun, I would do it." During his recovery period lifelong friendships emerged and John developed the booming laugh that is probably still echoing through Baker County.\n\nJohn's life was forever fulfilled when he met Leslie Olsen, a bright and vivacious Baker City girl, while working in Boise for MK. They almost met years earlier while John was assigned to the Hells Canyon Dam project. He stopped into Baker on the way to a holiday celebration, and two Baker High teenagers noticed his Trans Am. They followed him through town, but couldn't keep up when he hit the gas on the edge of town. Fate didn't give up. John and Leslie met again in Boise and married in Baker on June 5, 1976. Daughter Elizabeth joined them in 1977, and son Eric in 1979. John's work moved the family to Texas in 1990. John and Leslie resettled in Las Vegas in 1997. Following John's retirement in 2002, they resettled in Baker City to start the final happy chapter of John's life.\n\nRelieved of the stress of work, John was free to embrace his passions - learning, gardening, fishing, serving, and laughing. He joined the Masonic Lodge when he was 21, and after retiring, became active in Blue Mountain Lodge #34 in Baker, eventually serving as Master. He continued his Masonic journey by entering the Scottish Rite and becoming a 32nd degree Mason. He was a member of the Baker Elks Lodge #338. He engineered scooters and other devices that allowed him to move around his yard, coaxing vegetables and flowers from the soil. He read voraciously, if slowly. He shared his passion for learning with others, and he worked with literacy programs and tutored youth. He pestered locals for stories and lessons from their lives in ranching, logging, and teaching. He enjoyed a wide range of interests, but he was most interested in the people he met. He was a member of First Lutheran Church, and served on the Church Council. He made friends everywhere he went and never knew a stranger. Whenever possible, he doted on and bragged about his grandsons, Frederick and Otto.\n\nJohn's Christian faith as a committed Lutheran ensured that he saw his death not as a sad end, but rather the eternal reward promised to him by the grace of Jesus Christ. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, and his infant twins, Charles and Arielle. He is survived by his wife Leslie, daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Benjamin Cellar, son Eric and daughter-in-law DeAnna Steiger, and their two children - Frederick and Otto. He also is survived by his extended family including Madelyn Olsen, Steven and Sue Olsen, Kristen and Carl Poteete, numerous nieces and nephews, and many close friends. He was loved by a much larger community of friends, family, and acquaintances who will feel his loss.\n\nMemorial contributions may be made to the First Lutheran Church, Best Friends of Baker City or The Oregon Scottish Rite Clinic through Gray's West & Company Pioneer Chapel.