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EWTN Mourns Passing of Deacon Bill Steltemeier

(February 15, 2013)

Irondale, AL, Feb. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Deacon Bill Steltemeier, 83, who was known to millions
of television viewers around the world as the longtime associate of
EWTN Foundress Mother Angelica, died peacefully early this morning,
Feb. 15, at his home in Hanceville, Alabama  following a
lengthy illness.

Deacon Bill Steltemeier
Deacon Bill Steltemeier, EWTN's Founding President and Long-Time Board Chairman, Dies at 83

Deacon Bill Steltemeier and EWTN President & Chief Executive
Deacon Bill Steltemeier, EWTN's Founding President and Long-Time Board Chairman, with EWTN President & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw

"Other than Mother Angelica herself, there is no one who
has been more closely associated with the mission of EWTN
throughout its history than Deacon Bill Steltemeier," said EWTN
President & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. "In all
respects, he was a man of incredible faithfulness.  As a
husband, a father, an attorney and in his vocation as a permanent
deacon, Bill always remained focused on serving God and serving
others.  He devoted himself totally to Mother Angelica's
mission and sacrificed all he had to help her build EWTN into the
tremendous vehicle for evangelization that it has become.  I
was privileged to know and work alongside Bill for twenty-five
years and to succeed him as president and chief executive of the
Network he loved so much.  While we mourn his passing, we take
comfort from his own example of faith and are confident he has
heard those words from the Gospel of Matthew, 'Well done good and
faithful servant…enter into the joy of your master.'"

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.,
the longest-serving member of EWTN's Board of Governors, knew
Deacon Bill well.  "Mother Angelica's vision and dedication
inspired the founding of Eternal Word Television Network, but the
man who more than anyone turned her vision into practical reality
was Deacon Bill Steltemeier.  As Mother's coworker, right hand
and friend for many years, Bill lived out a tremendous commitment
to bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world through the
modern media.  He was an extraordinary man, and millions of
EWTN viewers will remember him with gratitude and respect. 
May God console his family and grant him eternal light and

Born in 1929 in Nashville, Tenn., to the late Rudolph
William Steltemeier, Sr., and Mary Ione (Phippen) Steltemeier, R.
William Steltemeier, Jr., attended Chaminade College Preparatory
School in St. Louis, Mo., and Vanderbilt University. He married
Ramona Schnupp on Aug. 22, 1953. A year later, after graduating
from Vanderbilt Law School, Bill entered the United States Army and
served for two years in France.  In 1960, he co-founded the
Nashville law firm of Steltemeier & Westbrook specializing in
bankruptcy and commercial law.  After fifty years, the firm is
still serving clients in middle-Tennessee with expanded areas of

Both as a lawyer and as a committed Catholic, Bill
served his community in many ways. For more than three decades, he
was engaged in assisting prisoners in both their civil and
spiritual rehabilitation.  He co-founded a prison Junior
Chamber of Commerce program, and served on the boards of the 7-Step
Foundation, Operation Comeback, and the Dismas House, organizations
dedicated to helping former prisoners transform their lives. 
In 1975, he was appointed by the Governor of Tennessee to the
state's review board for prison reform.

Of greatest significance, however, was his ordination on
April 26, 1975, as a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Nashville
by Bishop Joseph A. Durick. Deacon Bill was among the first men in
the United States to be ordained to the permanent diaconate. 
Following his ordination, he was appointed Catholic Chaplain to the
Tennessee State Prison for Men.

On March 9, 1978, while attending a legal convention in
Chicago, Deacon Bill first encountered Mother Mary Angelica. While
Mother Angelica was speaking, Deacon Bill heard an interior voice
say to him, "Until the day you die."  He knew from that moment
that his life would be devoted to serving Mother

When EWTN was formed in 1980, Deacon Bill became the
Network's first President and a founding board member.  In
1985, he resigned from his law firm to dedicate himself full-time
to Mother Angelica and EWTN.  For 22 years, Bill would commute
each week from his home in Nashville to the Network's headquarters
in Irondale. 

Upon Mother Angelica's retirement from active leadership
of EWTN in March of 2000, Deacon Bill took over the offices of
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Though he
retired from the role of chief executive in 2009, he continued to
serve as Chairman of the Network's Board of Governors until his

In May 2008, the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris
Causa, was conferred upon Deacon Bill by Ave Maria University in
recognition of his accomplishments and service to the Catholic

In October 2009, Deacon Bill was awarded the Pontifical
Medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by His Holiness Pope
Benedict XVI in recognition of his lifetime of extraordinary
service to the Church.

Deacon Bill Steltemeier is survived by his wife of 59
years, Ramona, who lives in Hanceville, Alabama, where they moved
in 2002, and his brother Fred Steltemeier of Nashville, several
nieces and their families. He was preceded in death by his son,
Rudy Steltemeier, III and daughter-in-law, Debra

Vespers and the Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed on
Monday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m. CT at the Shrine of the Most Blessed
Sacrament in Hanceville, Ala. followed by public visitation. 
A Prayer Vigil and Rosary will be prayed at 7:00 p.m. CT. The
funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. CT Tuesday, Feb. 19 at
the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Ala. Burial
will take place at 2:30 p.m. CT Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Calvary
Cemetery in Nashville.

Please see EWTN's website (

for information about Masses and programs celebrating Deacon Bill's
life.   Services may be watched or listened to live on
EWTN television by cable or satellite (

streaming audio or video on the Internet (

EWTN mobile (

on the EWTN Radio Network via affiliates (

shortwave (

or on satellite radio (


EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32th
year, is available
in over 225 million television
households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its
direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM &
FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet
electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the
largest religious media network in the world.


Photos accompanying this release are available at:

CONTACT: For Information, Please Contact:

Michelle Johnson
Director of Communications
EWTN Global Catholic Network
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, Alabama 35210-2198 USA
(205) 795-5769 - Office
(205) 441-6248 !- Cell
(205) 795-5781 - Fax

EWTN Global Catholic Network Logo

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