Isaac Ray Steiner, 7, was born on January 23, 2006. He passed away at Hospice House in Elkhart on March 6 after a 21-month journey with cancer.
The second of three sons, Isaac was welcomed into a loving home by his parents, Rob and Sarah, and older brother Jonah. Isaac became a big brother when Eli was born. All survive at home but are heartbroken by the loss of their dear son and brother.
Isaac was a student at Jefferson Elementary School where he completed kindergarten with Mrs. Tricia Brickner in the spring of 2012 and spent nine weeks in first grade with Mrs. Sara Walker in the fall of 2012. His greatest desire was to be a regular boy and both of his teachers treated him with great love and normalcy, despite his diagnosis.
Isaac accomplished much in his short life. He fulfilled dreams of traveling with his family and visited 19 states. He got to dip his feet in the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. He loved camping and eagerly fished with both of his grandfathers. His favorite vacation was his Make-A-Wish trip to Orlando, Fla., in October 2012. There he enjoyed staying at Give Kids the World and visiting Disney World and Universal Studios.
Isaac became a true LEGO Master. His LEGO collection has over 78,000 bricks, consisting of sets that were gifts from friends, strangers and even from the LEGO company. LEGO was so touched by Isaac’s story and building talents that they awarded Isaac the honorary title of Master Model Designer and Builder. Isaac’s love of Legos and ability to build complicated sets while sick inspired young and old alike.
There was, however, so much more to Isaac than Legos. He was a collector of many things, including rocks which were sent to him from around the world, and treasures which he stored in a special wooden box. He also loved stories about the triumph of good over evil and was especially drawn to “Star Wars,” “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Harry Potter” and the “Chronicles of Narnia.” Isaac often commented that, “There are no bad people — people are good on the inside.”
Isaac took a stuffed dog with him to his cancer treatments and most days to school. Hugging his furry friends helped him feel better during times when he was scared or missed his mom. After his cancer returned in November many people worked together to bring a real puppy to Isaac’s home. Nipper brought many smiles and remarks of, “Aww...he’s so cute” to Isaac’s life during Isaac’s final months.
Along with his immediate family, Isaac is survived by his grandparents, Wes and Margaret Steiner, Goshen; Ken and Janice Burkholder, Boise, Idaho; great grandmother, Helen Mann, Goshen; aunts and uncles, Suzanne and Kraig Roth and Hillary and Nate Bishop; godparents, Kris and Peter Gingerich; cousins, Austin and Catherine Steward, Juniper, George and Jasmine Bishop, Emma and Andrew Gingerich; as well as many extended family members around the country.
Isaac attended Belmont Mennonite Church in Elkhart from birth. His church family cared deeply for Isaac, and are a changed community by his death.
Isaac was lovingly cared for by his doctors and nurses at Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and Center for Hospice Care in Elkhart. Upon awaking after his first major surgery in June 2011, Isaac told his parents that he could feel “Jesus and His nurses” with him. In this spirit, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be given to the Isaac R. Steiner Scholarship Endowment Fund c/o Goshen College Development Office, 1700 S. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526, which will award scholarships to nursing students in honor of Isaac. Please write “Isaac Steiner Endowment Scholarship” in the memo line of checks.
Family visitation will take place on Friday, March 15, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at College Mennonite Church in Goshen. A Memorial Service remembering Isaac’s life will be held Saturday, March 16, at 3 p.m. at College Mennonite Church following a private burial. Isaac was a young child and much thought and care have gone into making the visitation and memorial service a special time for children who knew Isaac.
Online condolences may be shared at www.yoderculpfuneralhome.com.