Robert was born April 19, 1971 to Geneive and Norman Steffen, the fifth (and maybe a little unexpected ) child born to Geneive and Norman. Robert Ross joined Ronald Eugene, Carol Rae, Ellen Marie and Roger Norman. He was born in Winner and grew up on the Steffen farm west of Dallas, South Dakota. Robert was named after Norman’s brother and was eventually refereed to as “Baby Robert” by the Nebraska crew. He was no stranger to having nicknames or giving them.
Robert was adored and spoiled by his older siblings. He learned when Carol came home from work, she would bring him candy, and each time, she did indeed bring him candy. Growing up on the farm gave opportunity to run the crick, run the farm equipment and run to play. Robert enjoyed spending time with the Ekroth kids, shooting rabbits and birds for the barn cats; having his town friends out to go fishing; convincing the Minnesota cousin to dig in the old outhouse hole with a stick; and giving Kerri terrifying and exhilarating rides on the 3-wheeler. He could walk on his hands across a wooden fence and swing across the haymow on a long rope more times than any other kid. He was competitive. He and Ellen could go fishing all afternoon simply to see who could catch the biggest fish.
Robert was a sportsman in all respects. He loved to deer hunt and pheasant hunt. Most of all, Robert enjoyed bass fishing. Robert played a lot of ball. He played baseball for Gregory and also proudly wore A Dallas Toads uniform, playing slow pitch softball with Ron and Roger.
Robert graduated from Gregory High School in 1989. One of his best high school memories was being crowned homecoming king. That honor, that memory, brought a smile to his face every time. He never forgot it.
Robert was a graduate of South Dakota State University (Go Jackrabbits!). He earned a bachelor of science degree in agronomy/ag. business. He moved on to be a successful seed salesman for different companies. Robert believed that presentation and attitude could overcome any obstacle.
He was sincere. He put his best foot forward; he was kind; he dressed for success; he set goals and met them. He loved meeting the people; and the people loved him. He could be so very reassuring.
Robert looked forward to an adventure. Robert wanted to see new things and experience the thrill of any escapade (including sky diving). For Robert, an everyday event became an opportunity. Robert was a philosophical man; he could validate his knowledge because “I have been around the world and to three county fairs”.
Robert made friends readily and easily. People were drawn to his easy smile. He could engage anyone and leave them guessing. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve met “Rueben Little Dog, Chief Full of Bull”. When in the mood (which he usually was) an in proper company (which was self defined) Robert rallied and campaigned for the office of state dog catcher – one of his many, many tall tales. Some folks probably went to the polls looking for his name. Robert was an original; an innovator; a genius of quick study and wit; an angel.
Robert’s eyes of mischief, smile and love will be missed by his family: brother Ron and Val Steffen and their children Sara, Regan and Sam; sister Carol and Glen Cook, their children Kerri (husband Matt and children Devin, Kendra and Addison), Ryan (wife Kathryn and son Max) and Riley (wife Abby); sister Ellen Moss and Paul Storms, their children Michele (husband TJ and children Shayla and Evan), Michael (wife Chelsey and children Cora, Reven and Bohdi), and Eric (wife Destiny and children Bryken and Jace); and brother Roger.