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In Memoriam - Forrest F. Steinlage 1917-2011

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    In Memoriam - Forrest F. Steinlage 1917-2011

    It is my sad duty to report yet another passing of one who loved our steamboating and river heritage and did all he could to preserve it. Forrest Frank Steinlage passed away on Friday, January 14th in Louisville at the age of 93.

    Forrest was a licensed surveyor for the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District for 37 years. He served in the Army during World War II and retired as a Lt. Colonel after 35 years of service in the Reserve Officers Association and as an instructor of the USAR Intelligence School. He was a lifetime member of the American Turners, serving in various leadership positions. Forrest was a very active member of St. Peter's Evangelical United Church of Christ where he was a teacher of Bible studies. He also was a longtime member of the Propeller Club, Louisville Chapter. Forrest was a talented artist and produced many paintings of steamboat and river scenes, often displaying them at the annual meetings of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen and MOR chapter gatherings. He was a life member of the Howard Steamboat Museum and served as a curator and member of the board of directors. In 2003 our annual "Fall Into Art" exhibition showcased Forrest's artwork, of which he was justifiably proud.

    Forrest is survived by his wife of 62 years, Dorothy, three children, three grandchildren, several nieces and nephews and many friends.

    Funeral service will be at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, January 18th at the Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Road. Burial will follow in Cave Hill Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 3:00-7:00 PM Monday. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made to the Alzheimer's Association or to his church.

    A very quiet and kindly man, Forrest was always willing to help in any way. He has been much missed at the Howard Steamboat Museum for the past few years, where many of us greatly benefitted from his vast knowledge. A whistle salute to his memory with much gratitude from one who treasured his friendship.

    Steinlage Paintings:
    (1) Str. GORDON C. GREENE departing Louisville Wharf.
    (2) Excursion Str. IDLEWILD landing at Louisville. Collection of Capt. Mike Fitzgerald
    (3) Str. MISSISSIPPI below Vicksburg. Collection of Keith Norrington
    Attached Files

    Forrest was a stickler for accuracy, probably because of his surveying background. If one of his paintings shows an odd-looking feature or an improbable pipe you can bet they were there. He was a very quiet man, content with his accomplishments, who never, ever bragged about them.


      Indeed he was a stickler for detail! In 1993 when he was working on the painting of the Str. MISSISSIPPI, he showed up at my office one morning with the work in progress to ask many questions about the boat. I asked him to add a navigation light on the bank and the Vicksburg bridge in the distance, which he did. He also added an elderly couple, sitting on a log, as well as two fishermen in a johnboat and some drift in the river.

      Many of Forrest's paintings are in private collections, although we have some in the museum collection, as well as a large sign advertising the museum which features the upper decks of the Str. J.M. WHITE. A painting Forrest did of the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE has been made available in prints.


        I'll bet you didn't know that Forrest was color-blind. He told me that to him red and green were differing shades of gray. Dot, his wife, frequently was called upon for color advice. The drafting was always impeccable, though, and what he saw was what was there.

        In his real career Forrest was noted for accuracy. A foreman told me once that, "you should never tell Forrest, 'Give me a stake on the centerline about seventy feet down the line.' Forrest literally could not do it. But if you tell him, 'I want a stake 75.82 feet down the line,' the job will be done in no time." The word 'about' was not in his vocabulary.


          Sad news indeed. My sympathy to his family.


            *RE: Forrest F. Steinlage*
            Many thanks to Keith for passing the word RE: Forrest F. Steinlage. Sad news to all who knew Forrest and my deepest sympathy to his family, friends. He will be greatly missed. After all the tragedy, illness and death last week here, I wondered if I'd make it through the weekend without hearing of a third passing in the dismal cycle.

            R. Dale Flick
            Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati


              The Louisville Propeller Club sent a $50 donation to the Howard Museum in memory of Forrest. For many years Forrest attended the monthly meetings faithfully and always gave the innvocation. Although I did not know him well, he was a fine man.


                Capt. Charlie Lehman and I attended the funeral service for Forrest this morning and it was a fitting tribute to a fine man who was described in a eulogy as "a gentleman's gentleman". In all the years it was my privilege to be counted among his MANY friends, I never once heard Forrest say a negative thing about anybody. Forrest was a quiet man who led by example and we can all take a lesson from his legacy. He certainly will be missed.

                Image: Good friends & fellow board members Forrest Steinlage and the late J.T. Smith at the Howard Steamboat Museum Christmas Open House - December, 2001.
                Attached Files