On April 15, 1942, in Los Angeles, CA, God graced George and Margaret Steinmetz and their daughter, Rosalie, with a beautiful baby boy they named James Francis Steinmetz. The Catholic faith was the foundation of their family, and because of that Jim attended school at St. John’s Catholic School and Mt. Carmel High School. The friends he made at both remained a part of his life well into his adulthood.
Jim met the love of his life, Ann Jeanine Savino, in 1958, and knew almost immediately that she was his one and only. They married on January 27, 1961 and spent the next 54+ years building a life together that was a shining example of what love, commitment, faith, and family is all about. Jim was the proud and devoted father of Jeanine and Ed Lyons, Craig and JoAnna Steinmetz, and Michele and Joe Scribner. His family grew, as did his pride, with the addition of his grandchildren, Monica and Scott Rickets, Darren, David, and Brett Lyons, Steven and Nicole Steinmetz, and Ryan and Jolie Scribner. He claimed the cherished title of great Papa with the birth of Kate Rickets.
Jim’s career began from working at a parts store where he was introduced to the idea of working in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. He completed the apprenticeship program through Local 250 and embarked on a 40 year career journey that traveled a path where he worked as a mechanic, the program’s training director, and as the chief refrigeration business agent for UA Local 250. He honed his skills in teaching and advocating for others, and did all that he could to help others thrive in their work and personal lives. Until his retirement in June of 2000, he loved nothing more than to mentor, guide, and encourage others in the trade that had provided such a good life for him and his family.
Jim made it a priority to be involved with his church, St. Bonaventure’s. In the 48 years he was a member there, he served on the Men’s Club, flocked trees in the Christmas tree lot, worked countless hours at the annual fall festival, traveled to Honduras, fried fish, supported the homeless, helped with counting the Sunday collection, actively promoted the needed church renovations through the Building Fund committee, and perhaps most memorably, served as a regular usher at the 7:30 Sunday morning mass.
Always one to know the value of sharing, Jim looked to find ways to pass along the blessings in his life. Not long after he retired, Ann encouraged him to put his jolly character and generous heart to use as one of Santa’s special helpers. Something that began as a kind gesture of delivering Christmas gifts to families of women who were suffering from breast cancer quickly turned into a staple in the fundraising efforts of Breast Cancer Angels. Santa Jim and his beautiful Mrs. Claus, Ann, made countless visits and appearances to share their joy to all who were blessed to have the experience. Whether it be from large resorts, cooperate events, or small family gatherings, all of the proceeds went directly to Breast Cancer Angels.
It was easy to see in the way he lived his life that what mattered most to him was his faith and his family. Everything he did was done with those two aspects at the forefront of his mind. Family was certainly those people who were a part of his life in the traditional sense of the word, but there is no doubt that his definition included friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the people who shared his passions. No matter what it was, Jim had a lust for life, for learning, for helping and giving of himself to others, for being the very best person he could be.
It is impossible to know the true impact his life has had on countless numbers of people, but there is absolute certainty that when it was time for him to leave us, he achieved his ultimate goal in life, which was to enter into eternal bliss as he was welcomed home by God. Our sorrow is deep and painful, but knowing he achieved his life’s purpose, we are able to find some peace. From here, may we each do our part to continue the legacy that he has left as a most precious gift for each one of us who was lucky enough to know him, love him, and share his life with him.