Cecelea Frances Steiner
August 1, 1918 - January 1, 2013
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our wonderful mother and grandmother, Cecelea Frances Steiner. Mom was born in Lompoc, California on August 1, 1918 to Judith and Mario Agnelli. Her youth was spent playing in the hills and flower fields of the Lompoc Valley with her beloved brothers Frank and Johnny and cherished sister Ethel. Mom loved riding her favorite pinto horse, collecting sea shells at the surf, embroidering tea towels and attending rodeos, flower festivals and Swiss picnics. Her childhood was filled with family, lifelong friends, homemade wine with Pepsi (Grandpa's Italian Cocktail!), venison jerky, polenta, fresh from the garden vegetables and homemade breads. The Swiss knew how to live!
After high school Mom set out for the big city and moved to Santa Barbara. Her love for Santa Barbara never diminished. She enjoyed sun bathing at the beach with her many friends, having her clothes tailor made, dancing, attending Santa Barbara Secretarial School, working as a nanny, secretary and sales clerk and sharing an apartment with her dear friend Senna. Then one day, a college student named Arthur Steiner saw her walking down the street. He took one look, turned to his friend and said,"See that girl? That's the girl I am going to marry." And he did, but not before they created beloved memories of Melody Lane, the Easter Ball, Barbary Coast Carnival, moonlight dancing, red roses and fraternity formals.
Mom and Dad were married on April 18, 1943. The honeymoon in Palm Springs was perfect except for the flat tire, misplaced reservations and a shortened trip due to lack of funds...but not a lack of good times. After moving to Long Beach for Dad's teaching job at Roger's Junior High School, Dad joined the Navy and together they traveled to Tucson, Arizona, Boston, Massachusetts and San Francisco. Mom loved the adventure but not the heat of Arizona nor the humidity of Boston. She and her wool suits were much more comfortable at the foggy San Francisco coast. After the war, Dad returned to his teaching job in Long Beach. He built our family home in Lakewood Village that they shared with their two absolutely adorable children, Arthur and Kristina.
Mom was the perfect mother. She would make every meal delicious and beautiful. Her spaghetti with meatballs, leg of lamb, pineapple upside down cakes, sandwiches of any kind and chicken rice casseroles were famous. She could even prepare the German dish rouladen and potato pancakes over a camp stove in Yosemite. She volunteered at school, worked the carnivals, led the scout troops, sewed the costumes, shopped till we dropped in LA and worked endlessly in the yard. Almost everyday she stopped mid afternoon to share an oatmeal cookie with our infamous dog, Lambert. Above all, Mom was the best listener. When we came home from school or visited after a day of work, she dropped everything, set out a plate of cookies or desserts, poured a cup of coffee and just listened. She always believed our side of the story and was ready to defend us to the death. She knew we could do anything and told us so. After our marriages, Mom welcomed her son-in-law Richard and daughter-in-law Norma with an open heart...more family, more dinners and more celebrations! Oh, and how Mom loved her five grandchildren Rick, David, Martina, Thom and Sky. She baked cookies, played in the dirt, controlled traffic with the Hot Wheels and read countless stories over and over and over again.
Mom always made every family gathering or social event a party. She was sure to speak to every person in the room. If they had just met, she became their instant friend. If you had known her before, you remembered her lovely laugh and smile. She organized many Long Beach City College Faculty Wives luncheons and served on the local board of the United Way. She studied Italian and accompanied Dad through Italy, Germany, France and England. She was a tireless slot machine player in Las Vegas and Tahoe. Plus, she was an enthusiastic and wily Canasta partner. She was a warm, smart, fun loving and beautiful woman.
Mom was beautiful and lively to the end. A few days before her passing, she started conversing with little departed souls that she had loved throughout her life. They made her laugh with their stories and calmed her with their tales. They seemed to be telling her, "Come on! It's time to go! You're ready to start the grandest party and greatest adventure of you life! I think God could not imagine another day in Heaven without her, Dad already had on his dancing shoes and Greta and Tex were shuffling the cards. Throughout our lives, I hope we will never stop thanking her for the joy, love and support she brought into our lives. I know we will never stop holding her tightly and dearly in our hearts. We love you Mom.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to Long Beach City College "Arthur F. Steiner" scholarship.
Please sign the guest book at www.luybenfamilyd-m.com