Obituaries

 Obituaries 
Russell Keiser 1942-2021
Russ Keiser of Mt. Airy, MD passed away at home on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Born in Baltimore and graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic High School in 1960, Russ earned a Bachelor’s degree in engineering and a Master’s degree in business from the University of Maryland. He worked for Westinghouse and later went into sales, representing a number of electronic firms. Mr. Keiser is the founder of Integral Components, a cable assembly company, in Westminster, MD.

Russ was very involved in Scouting, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and serving as a scout master. He was a talented wood worker. He was a lifelong collector of rocks and minerals and loved to share his knowledge with others. He was also a member of Stein Collectors International.

He is survived by his wife, of 54 years, Mary Elizabeth Thim (Betty), sons James and wife Virginia, William and wife Mary, and Matthew and wife Nancy. He also has six grandchildren Drew, Kevin, Benjamin, Kate, Brooke and T.J.

Nancy Strand 1943-2021
Nancy Strand died on April 4th of this year. She is survived by husband Jack, three sisters and numerous nieces and nephews.

SCI members who were fortunate enough to visit Jack and Nancy in their restored Victorian home in Oak Park, Illinois, know how hard and lovingly the couple worked to create a beautiful home filled with antiques and a large stein collection. Strong, loving, quioet, elegant, organized, meticulous are all words describing the woman, wife, sister, aunt and community member and friend that was Nancy Strand.

Judy Heiligenstein 1933-2021
Judy Heiligenstein, wife of Ron Heiligenstein, died peacefully at home after battling illness for six years. Her last wish was to see her children, grand-children and great grand-children during their Easter week visit to Tucson. The Lord granted her that wish.

Judy and Ron dated for two years in high school, through four years of college and were married in 1954, a loving relationship that lasted 73 years.

Ron is an SCI Master Steinologist and author of “Regimental Beer Steins (Reservistenkrüge) 1890-1914”, and he and Judy were regular participants at SCI conventions. The photo at left is from the 2005 convention. Judy’s bright countenance and calm demeanor will be missed.

Henry “Hank” Bahr 1937-2020
Hank passed peacefully in his sleep on December 9, 2020. He was born in Milwaukee on May 7, 1937 and lived most of his life in Wauwatosa. He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Erna (nee Kotzian), of 57 years and brother Richard (Maggie) Bahr.Hank was a veteran of the US Army National Guard, attended the University of Illinois and had a lifelong career as an Architect. He enjoyed many things related to his heritage. He was a beer stein collector/appraiser and a member of Die Lustigen Steinjäger von Wisconsin stein club, member and past president of Der Milwaukee Liedertafel men’s choir, served on the original founding board of German Fest Milwaukee where he and Erna volunteered every year serving beer and displaying his steins. He was a member of St John’s Lutheran Church for over 50 years, was a loyal Packer fan who attended the Ice Bowl in 1967, enjoyed a good sheepshead game and especially loved swing and ballroom dancing. He and Erna were great at the Jitterbug.
Martin Dale Jahn 1928-2020
Martin was a family man…husband of 42 years to Pat, father of Marty, Randy and Cheryl, step-father of Jim, Eric and the late Bob, grandfather of 9, brother to Reinhardt and Loren, and uncle and friend to many. He passed away on October 10, 2020 at 91 years of age.He led an amazing life. Born and raised in Chicago, attended Morgan Park High School and Northwestern University. A US Army Veteran and entrepreneur and inventor. Martin was one of the key driving forces in the family business, Chicago Metallic and its many subsidiaries. He has many product patents in his name. Martin was an active member of the Union League Club of Chicago, where he served on the Civic and Arts Committee. Marty was a philanthropist who promoted education as the key to success. He was a patron of the arts supporting local artists, symphony, opera, theater and others. Marty was also an avid collector and member of Stein Collectors International for more than 50 years and founder of the Meister Steiner Chapter. Martin had a passion for the Straits of Mackinac area Michigan, home to his mother’s farm, and where he vacationed his whole life. Adventurous in spirit he lived an active life and embraced the philosophy of always giving back to our communities.
Tom Fox, Jr.    July 30, 1942 ~ Sept. 15, 2020
Tom Fox was a fifth generation Washingtonian and current resident of Saint Leonard, MD. He and his wife Carolyn were long term active members of SCI and Gambrinus Stein Club.Tom was a former Marine and worked for a number of years on the printing press floors of the Washington Star and Washington Post before retiring to enjoy more time at the Outer Banks, NC, antiquing and stein collecting, tinkering in the garage, attending car shows, and doing poker runs on his motorcycle.While heart disease and stroke eventually took Tom, the loss of his wife from pancreatic cancer less than a year earlier was equally as difficult for him and his family.
Leslie “Les” Whitham    1930 ~ Sept. 3, 2020
Leslie (Les) Carl Whitham, of Farmington, beloved husband of the late Charlotte (Kasmer) Whitham, passed away Thursday, September 3, 2020 surrounded by his loved ones. Les graduated from Newington High School and served in the Air Force in Alaska where he deepened his love for the outdoors, hunting and fishing. These passions turned into a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of Maine, before starting his career as a forest ranger. Carpentry and a love of turtles were lifelong hobbies.Les and his wife Charlotte were both long term members of SCI and they each contributed greatly to the stein collecting community. Les was a friend to all he met, and his sense of humor, good will and hospitality will be missed.Memorial donations may be made in his name to the National Parks Conservation Association, 777 6th Street, NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20001. https://www.npca.org/give/memorial-tribute-giving.
Beatrice “Bea” Taus    June 3, 1928 ~ July 26, 2020
Bea Taus and her husband, Herb, were longtime members of Die Golden Gate Zecher and Stein Collectors International, Inc. Bea served as SCI secretary from 2005-2008. Herb passed away December 8, 2013.Born in Chicago and raised in Duluth, MN, Bea was the oldest of three sisters. She and her late husband Herb met first as pen pals while Bea lived in Minneapolis and Herb was stationed overseas serving in the US Navy. The couple married and moved to Greendale, Wisconsin where they began their life together, establishing their family with four adopted children, Lisa (Destiny), Peter, Danny & Peggy. The family spent the children’s school years moving through the Midwest; Brookfield, WI., Minnetonka, MN., Lincolnshire, IL., and ending up on the East Coast in Centre Square, PA. In all the houses they lived in, Bea had a knack for making each place special and feel like home. In 1983 the Taus’ moved to Fremont California.Bea was a gracious hostess who enjoyed entertaining friends and relatives, often times preparing German and Polish dishes. Her father Hans was the chef at the Hotel Duluth, and his talents influenced Bea to develop what we know as her Michelin rated culinary skills. There was never a meal that didn’t begin with happy hour including a Manhattan and tray of artfully arranged appetizers, and capped by a decadent dessert!
Robert “Bob” Groebner Sr.
Bob was born in Chicago to Louis Sr. and Katherine Groebner. He was a longtime member of Stein Collectors International and an avid collector of German beer steins along with many other antiques for over 50 years. His charismatic personality made him a mentor and loyal friend to many. Bob is survived by his wife, Irene, and his son, Bob Jr., also a collector-member of SCI. Bob took great joy in spending time with his family and everyone enjoyed his quick wit and wonderful sense of humor. He will be dearly missed.
Roger Goll   12/15/1937 – 4/30/2020
On April 30th, our friend and long time member of Gambrinus Stein Club, Roger Goll had passed away due to complications from the Covid-19 Virus. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Patricia ‘Tish’, a son and daughter, Carl and Janine, respectfully.Roger was a U.S. Army Veteran. Roger worked for the government in the Department of Forestry until he retired around 2002 . He was an active member of American Legion Disney-Bell Post 66 in Bowie, MD. He organized wounded warrior visits to Walter Reed Medical Center. Roger was proud of his post’s donation of the Healing Garden at the Walter Reed Medical Center in 2006.Roger became a member of Gambrinus in 1973. During this time, Roger had hosted several meetings at his home, held an officer position within the club and gave various talks on steins over the years. Roger had experienced some health issues over the past few years which kept him from attending Gambrinus meetings, but he always maintained his membership and support for the club. Earlier this year, Gambrinus Stein Club had awarded Roger with an Honorary Lifetime Membership to the club for his 47 years of service, devotion and support to the club.Roger was well known in Gambrinus and SCI. He will always be remembered for his service and devotion to his country, family and friends.
Robert Fiebrandt   8/31/1924 – 1/6/2020
Bob Fiebrandt of Orlando, FL, was a long-term member of SCI and the Sun Steiners chapter. He entered the Army in September 1942, serving 26 months on the front lines in France, Belgium and Germany during World War II. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in battle. Bob loved the outdoors, particularly boating, driving a series of “big rigs”, fishing and golfing. He is survived by his loving wife, Loretta, his two sons Randall Robert (and Joan) and Mark Jeffrey (and Laura), 5 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren.
Steve Morris   12/14/1942 – 1/1/2020
Steve Morris of Foster City, CA, was a long-term member of SCI and a founding member of die Golden Gate Zecher chapter. His enthusiasm for steins inspired him to publish “The Character Steins of Schierholz, A Reference and Price Guide” in 2007. His biographical material in that book states:”A Native Californian, I was born in 1942 and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. I was educated at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State College. My twenty-eight year career was involved in the construction supply industry where I was one of many who pioneered the use of pneumatic gun nailers on home building sites. My hobby interests are exotic cars, being a long time Ferrari lover and member of the Ferrari Club of America for over twenty years; and, of course, my collection of beer steins. I have been a twenty year member of die Golden Gate Zecher, the Northern California chapter of Stein Collectors International (SCI). I have served as chapter president and vice president. My primary interests in life are my wife Nancy; my two daughters, Julie and Lynette; their husbands Patrick and Sean and my two granddaughters, Becca and Ella. Family, cars and steins; I love them all.”
Carolyn Lee Fox   06/22/1945 – 12/10/2019
Carolyn (Carol) Fox was a long-term member of SCI and Gambrinus Stein Club. Recipient of the Jack Heimann Service Award in 2018, she was actively involved in planning and supporting numerous SCI conventions, and her guiding hand will be missed.Read her obituary here.
Charlotte Whitham   3/30/1935 – 11/13/2019
Charlotte Whitham of Farmington, CT, was a long-term member of SCI and the die Studenten Prinz Gruppe chapter. She grew up in Newington and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and her master’s degree from Central Connecticut State College. She was the wife of Leslie Carl Whitham; the two celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this past July. Charlotte was a Pulaski and New Brittan High School teacher for many years, loved by all who passed through her class and dedicated to making a difference in her students’ lives. She was an active member of the Student Prince Stein Club, a UCONN basketball and Red Sox fan, an avid reader, and beach lover. She received the Jack Lowenstein Editor’s Award for best article for “Ladies with Bustles” in the September 2006 issue of Prosit.
Arnold Frenzel   2/23/1936 – 10/16/2019
Arnold Frenzel of Newman, GA,  was a member of The Dixie Steiners chapter of SCI.
Ralph Joyce   12/14/1949 – 06/17/2018
of Weare, NH and North Andover, MA, passed away peacefully at home on the morning of June 17, 2018.  As a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and Suffolk University Law School, he established a law practice in his hometown of North Andover. His professional life included service to the town of North Andover as a Selectman and as Town Attorney. He was a longtime member of Stein Collectors International and past president of the New England Steiner’s chapter. He greatly enjoyed traveling to their auctions and events, occasionally contributing an article to the membership publication Prosit, but mostly he enjoyed the community and camaraderie of the many friends he made. Ralph enjoyed spending time on his boat, spirited conversation, and had a kind and gentle heart.
Spencer Guay    09/02/1987 – 02/21/2018
With deep sadness we report the loss of our dear Erste Gruppe member, Spencer Guay, seen here with his mother, Vicki, at the 2017 SCI convention. We will miss Spencer, his warm greetings with hugs, and his many artistic interests and hobbies. He leaves a unique and deep vacancy in our hearts and within the Zecher membership. We send our deepest condolences to Vicki, Spencer’s mom.
Al Honeycutt, Jr.    09/08/1932 – 02/11/2018
A. L. (AL) Honeycutt, Jr. received an AB degree in history from Duke University in 1955. He continued graduate work in the field of history at Duke University and received an MA degree. In 1958, he joined the staff of the North Carolina Department of Archives and History and was responsible for the development of the Alamance Battleground and Fort Fisher State Historic Sites. From 1963 to 2002, Mr. Honeycutt served as restoration supervisor with the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, working on restoration projects throughout the state including the State Capitol, the Executive Mansion, and a number of important house museums. His work resulted in multiple recognition awards, and upon his retirement in 2002 Governor Mike Easley conferred upon him The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.After his retirement from state government, he engaged full time in his avocation of antiques, exhibiting at antique shows and malls in the Carolina’s and Virginia. He was a member of the Order of the First Families of North Carolina, Edenton Historical Commission, Stein Collectors International, Carolina Steiners and Sertoma Club of Raleigh. Until recent years he was a regular attendee at SCI conventions with his friend, John Lacy Kelly.
Erna Bahr
Bahr, Erna Marie (Nee Kotzian) Former resident of Wauwatosa. Passed away Nov 19, 2017 age 80. Lovingly survived by her husband of 57 years, Henry “Hank” Bahr, longtime member of Stein Collectors International.
Robert D. Wilson      1929 – 2017
Bob Wilson appeared with his wife, Colette, at the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA). Bob was the ultimate researcher, and his meticulous attention to detail earned him the affectionate title of “Mr. Mettlach.” The Museum recently announced the Robert and Colette Wilson Lecture Fund.”The Robert and Colette Wilson Lecture Fund has been established by the board of directors of the American Museum of Ceramic Art to celebrate the life of Robert Wilson (1929-2017).  Bob (aka “Mr. Mettlach”) and his late wife Colette generously supported AMOCA with a historic gift of their momentous collections of Villeroy & Boch Mettlach and Royal Worcester ceramic wares as well as significant monetary donations from 2010 and continuing.”The Fund will support educational lectures at the Museum in the field of ceramics. Charitable donations may be mailed to AMOCA, 399 N. Garey Avenue, Pomona, CA 91767 (please reference Wilson Lecture Fund) or click here to make a donation online.”
Bernard “Bunny” Harrison      October 25, 2017
Bunny Harrison, of Slaugham, West Sussex, England, passed away peacefully on October 25, 2017, following a short stay at Maplehurst Nursing Home in Haywards Heath, from general weakness and old age after a recurrence of prostate cancer.

David Gensicke      April 20, 1934 to September 8, 2017
David J. Gensicke, 83, of Kenosha, passed away peacefully on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, at Hospice Alliance Hospice House surrounded by his loving family.Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on April 20, 1934, he was the son of the late Everett L. and Marjorie E. (Miller) Gensicke. He attended schools in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin before graduating from Waukesha High School in 1952. He went on to graduate from UW-Madison in 1956 with a BBA Degree and was also a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity.David served in the United Sates Army from 1956 until his honorable discharge in 1958.David was a member of SCI (Stein Collectors International), member and past president of die Lustigen Steinjaeger von Wisconsin (Jolly Stein Hunters of Wisconsin). He enjoyed collecting antique German beer steins, gardening, bicycling and rooting for the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers.

Milton Schnitzlein      July 9, 1925 to April 21, 2017
It is with sadness that we announce the death of SCI member Milton Schnitzlein following a severe stroke. Affectionately know as “Milt” (and sometimes “Uncle Miltie”) he was a devoted husband and beer stein enthusiast. SCI Member No. 44, Milt was a charter member of the Gambrinus Stein Club and mentored countless stein collectors across the Mid-Atlantic. He and his wife Shirley hosted numerous chapter meetings in their home or in a local restaurant, especially if Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs or Maryland Crab Cakes were on the menu. Also a member of the Pennsylvania Keysteiners, Milt relished learning and sharing information about steins.Milt served as a Radioman with the Navy in the Pacific during World War II.  Radioman Milt received, decoded, and relayed communications between Allied ships during the battles of Guam and Okinawa.  After the war, Milt became a lead inspector of quarry conveyer belts across his home state of Maryland.Milt loved antiquing with his wife Shirley.  Together, they logged over 70,000 miles scouring Maryland and its shores for steins for over 58 years until Shirley’s death in 2009.Milt has been buried next to his wife Shirley at the St. Michael Lutheran Cemetery in Baltimore. He was greatly helped during his last months by the members of the church.
Bruce Ehly   09/28/1940 – 08/15/2016
Bruce Ehly began his interest in antique stein collecting when his wife, Joy, gave him his first Mettlach stein in 1970, the first Christmas of their marriage while living at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.LCOL Ehly served the Air Force with distinction as a pilot for 27 years earning many medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross. He loved antique steins, art glass, Tiffany & his huge toy lead soldiers collection. Bruce died peacefully on August 15, 2016 and, the VA has acknowledged, as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange which defoliated the primitive air strips upon which he landed his C-130 in Vietnam. His presence will be forever missed.

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William (Bill) Mitchell      June 2, 1934 to June 22, 2016
Bill Mitchell, age 82, passed away June 22, 2016, after a long illness, at the Villages of Nazareth Living Center in St Louis. He was buried with full military honors at the Jefferson Barracks Military Cemetery, also in St. Louis. He was preceded by his wife Lillian in 2014 and is survived by his niece, Vivian Powell.  Bill was an active member of the St Louis Gateway Steiners for many years and enjoyed mentoring new collectors. As an overzealous new member, I remember  Bill telling  me, “Martin,  there  are  more steins  in the  world  than  you  have money.”  Sadly, how true. Bill and Lillian were famous for the bountiful feasts they provided during meetings at their house. During his many years with SCI Bill served as its president in 1988 and chaired the SCI convention that year as well as co-chairing two SCI mini-conventions. His passion was steins and lithographs from the pre-prohibition St Louis breweries. He loved to point to a lithograph on his wall and say “the Anheuser Busch Brewery museum doesn’t have that one!”  He will be missed by his many friends.

Stephen L. Smith      September 4, 1940 to February 12, 2016
Steve joined the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in 1964 and worked his way up the ranks over 34 years of professional service to the rank of Deputy Fire Chief/Chief Fire Marshal and retired in 1988. During his years with the Fire Department and  continuing into retirement, Steve also pursued his passion for history by collecting antiques, especially historical vessels “From Which to Drink,” building a body of knowledge in which his expertise was sought after from all over the world.

Steve’s expertise in the field of drinking vessels and his willingness to share his knowledge with other collectors earned him the Master Steinologist Award from Stein Collectors International in 1987. Steve was truly passionate about sharing his knowledge with his fellow collectors, and he was a frequent speaker at chapter meetings, never missing an opportunity to learn something new himself. He has continued to be an ambassador for the hobby of stein collecting, publishing his web site “Steve on Steins.”

Leo Frene   5/17/1932 – 4/27/2014
Leo was a member of Gambrinus Stein Club for many years until his passing in 2014.

Jack G. Lowenstein      March 19, 1927 to November 14, 1993
Editor of Prosit 1978-1993; Executive Secretary 1978-1987
Master Steinologist and recipient of the Jack Heimann Service Award

Stein Collectors International has lost one of the finest members it has ever had. Jack lost his last battle with ALS (amniolateralsclerosis) after a valiant effort. His generous spirit will always be remembered by those who knew him. When he had to retire as Prosit Editor, SCI gave him a $1000 honorarium for all of the fine work he had done over so many years. In true tradition Jack, and his wife Netty, decided to turn that honorarium over to the SCI Research Library and Archives for the purchase of educational books and tapes.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Jack emigrated to the United States in 1939, landing in New York. That emigration began his life-long love affair with the U.S. We can all remember his admonitions to us about how proud we should be to be Americans. Of course, this was always tempered by at least one or two great jokes! Jack found stein collecting passion and his alter ego in the Münchner Kindl, or Munich Child. That theme formed the basis for his collection, and he loved to dress in costume at SCI conventions, where the beer, the Gemütlichkeit and the friendship all flowed liberally.

Jack graduated from Pratt Institute as a Chemical Engineer and received his Masters degree from the University of Maryland. One of his lifelong dreams was recently fulfilled when he received his Fellowship in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Jack retired this past year as Facility Director of FMC in Princeton, New Jersey.

A great lover of opera and classical music, he and Netty shared their enjoyment of many con¬certs, and model railroading was another of his myriad hobbies. He was a Lt. Cdr. in the Naval Reserves and volunteered in the American Red Cross and the New Jersey State Museum, among other diversified charities and interests.

Jack leaves to mourn his passing, and to celebrate his extraordinary life, his wife of 43 years, Netty; his sons, Dwayne (Carol); Dr. Daniel (Milo); and his daughter Vivian, along with his loving and beloved grandchildren David, Alex, Stefan and Mira.

SCI shall miss his warmth and caring, his expertise, his encouragement and his wonderful sense of humor. Rest in peace, dear friend. It was a pleasure to know you and we shall miss you beyond words.