We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Nampa Funeral Home Yraguen Chapel
Reverend Russell Eugene Steiner (Pastor Russ) of Melba, Idaho was born on July 6, 1943 in Denver, Colorado. He was the baby of four children born to Eugene and Bernice Steiner. God called His faithful servant, Russ, home on the morning of Tuesday August 16, 2022 at the age of 79. A Celebration of Life for Russ will be held on Saturday September 24, 2022 at 1 pm in the Melba High School Commons.
Russ spent his youngest years living in Colorado. During the great blizzard of 1949 the family moved from Windsor, Colorado to Caldwell, Idaho where he attended Lincoln Elementary. In 1953 the family moved to Roseburg, Oregon in the middle of yet another blizzard. They settled in Roseburg and Russ graduated from Roseburg High School in 1961. At that point in time, he felt that God was calling him into ministry but he had no clear concept of what that might be. With no money to attend college and pursue this calling, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Oct. of 1961.
During his time in the Marine Corps Russ met Pat Olsen, the future Mrs. Steiner, in the parking lot of Emmanuel Faith Baptist Church in Escondido, California. They were both going on a trip to the beach with the young adults of that church. Russ and Pat were married on June 18, 1966. Russ and Pat spent their marriage serving God in churches and communities throughout California, Hawaii and Idaho.
After being discharged from the Marine Corps, Russ began his ministerial career while attending in Pasadena College in Pasadena, California as a minister of music at a church near San Bernadino, California. He continued to serve the Lord as a Minister of Christian Education and Youth in several churches part time. Russ was finally able to became full time in that capacity at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Camarillo, California during the summer of 1968. He continued to take some college courses but finally needed to transfer back to Pasadena College and take the remainder of his classes on campus in order to graduate.
Russ and Pat packed up their young family in 1972 and moved to the mission field of Honolulu, Hawaii where Russ served as the youth pastor of First Baptist Church. A few short years later, the family moved back to Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Camarillo. Russ stayed on as youth pastor there until 1978 when he was able to return to school and earn his Masters of Divinity degree from the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, California.
Upon graduation from seminary in 1979, Russ accepted his first pastorate at First Baptist Church in New Plymouth, Idaho. He served as a local school board trustee in New Plymouth, a volunteer assistant high school track coach and a little league boys basketball coach. He also served on what was known as the Payette Youth Accountability Board for a number of years. He and a few other citizens in Payette County served as an extension of the judicial court system to hold first time juvenile law offenders accountable for their violations of the law. The purpose was to give youth a different direction in their young lives to help them not become repeat offenders of the judicial system. While Pastor of the New Plymouth church he led the congregation in the first remodeling of the church to provide much needed space to accommodate the people attending worship.
Russ and Pat made one last move to Melba, Idaho as the pastor at the Community Baptist Church in the fall of 1991. During Russ’ 31 years of life in Melba, it is hard to highlight all of his involvement in church and community life.
For fifteen years while serving the Melba community, the church Russ was pastor of, provided a Thursday morning breakfast for any Junior or Senior High student that wanted to attend. For all 19 years that Russ was pastor, the church also provided a Tuesday afternoon program for elementary students when school was over for the day.
Russ also served the high school as a small group facilitator for students for many years that met during lunch time. When the tragedy of the Twin Towers and Pentagon explosions occurred, Russ spent several days on campus being available to anyone who needed to talk about their concerns. He was the unofficial faculty counselor when tragedy struck the high school, such as the death of a student or faculty member. He was called on several times to conduct the funeral of a student or staff member.
For the past 41 years Russ has been a significant part of high school students and athletes in the state of Idaho, with 39 of those years involved as a part of athletics.
In 1994 Russ Steiner began announcing football games for Melba High School after being the Master of Ceremonies for the Melba Fourth of July Olde Tyme entertainment stage that year. He continued being a part of the July festivities for 13 years before being elected to a national church committee in his denomination that met around the same time.
When the boys and girls state basketball championship games were set to open in 1996 at the Idaho Center, the tournament director asked Russ to be the public address announcer for such a grand event. So began a 25-year stint as the public address announcer at the State of Idaho Girl’s State Basketball SIC 5A tournament games and championship games for all classifications in the state.
During these years Russ served as pastor of the Melba Community Baptist Church. He and church volunteers provided “state sendoff breakfasts or brunches” for teams from Melba that qualified for state competition. Some years there would be overlapping sports so that athletes and coaches from volleyball, cross country as well as cheerleaders, were served all at the same time.
His reach into the Melba community extended to serving as the Melba Rural Fire Protection District Commissioners’ secretary/treasurer, faithfully supporting annual Melba Community Auction and fundraisers for many other organizations, working as the grounds-keeper/maintenance guy for the Senior Housing units in Melba, as well as providing counseling, performing weddings and funerals, and doing most anything for anyone who needed help.
Sharing his love for God and the message of Salvation was not limited to the walls of the church building on Sunday mornings. Serving God was at the heart of Russ’ life. Through all of his years in ministry and into his retirement, his heart stayed with his beginnings in youth ministry. He absolutely loved being involved with any activity surrounding children and youth. From Vacation Bible School to attending all sports competitions at any level, and everything in between, Russ and Pat were there supporting their grandchildren and the youth of the community.
During his years of ministry Russ served the American Baptist Churches/USA as the president of Western Association of Christian Educators; a member for four years of a national committee for the denomination and as president and secretary of the local pastor and spouses get togethers in the First Association of Baptist Churches. He has served as church camp director for youth church camps in California and Idaho, as well as serving on the board for Cathedral Pines Baptist Camp in Ketchum, Idaho. After his retirement, he was honored to serve as an interim pastor for the Knight Community Church in Grandview, Idaho and the First Baptist Church in Cambridge, Idaho. Russ also continued to perform marriage and funeral services for the many friends he made throughout the years.
As if all of this isn’t enough to keep one man busy, Russ also had many hobbies that he loved to share with friends and family. He loved his horses dearly and enjoyed riding in Owyhees and going on week long back country trips with friends. He was always up for a good fishing or hunting trip. Russ took great joy in knowing that he provided for his dear wife by building her a home for their retirement years. He spent many hours working on the lawn, pastures, waterfalls and out-buildings surrounding their home.
Russ is survived by his bride of 56 years, Pat Steiner of Melba of Idaho; his daughter and family – Pam, Wayne, Rachel and Lauren Davis of Nampa, Idaho; his son and family – Eric, Jennifer, Emma and Joshua Steiner of Nampa, Idaho; his brother John and Gladys Steiner of Rockville, Maryland; many cousins, nieces and nephews; and “grandchildren” from the Pugmire, Woodall and Dickard families; Anna, Allie and Andrew Herman; Cindy Reed; Mallory and Lemont Lincoln; and Kali and Kodi Adams. He is preceded in death by his parents Gene and Bernice Steiner; his sister Beverly Rooke; and his brother Bruce Steiner.
The family invites everyone to come to the Celebration of Life for Russ on Saturday September 24, 2022 at 1pm in the Melba High School Commons, Melba Idaho. We all have memories and stories of our times with him. Please take a few minutes to write out your favorites and bring them with you to share with his family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Russ Steiner’s name to the Melba School District in care of High School Athletics for local scholarships. Melba School District, P.O. Box 185, Melba, ID 83641