Milwaukee Bucks Executive Vice President John Steinmiller dies at 73

Milwaukee Bucks Executive Vice President John F. Steinmiller He passed away Tuesday at the age of 73 after a short battle with cancer.

Synonymous with organization, Steinmiller began his career with the franchise in 1970 when he was still a student at Marquette University. During his more than 50 years with the Bucks, he has worked in many roles from his beginnings part-time to front office service.

He started as an administrative assistant and eventually moved to the position of Public Relations Manager in 1972, becoming the youngest person in professional sports to hold that position.

He spent more than 30 years as Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations.

Steinmiller celebrated his 50th anniversary with the team in the 2019-20 season and was on hand for both championships in franchise history.

“This wasn’t just a job for him – it was our family,” said his son John Henry Steinmiller, who is now the Chicago Blackhawk’s chief media relations manager. “And we made it a part of it and made us part of the whole family’s experience with the team and everything. He has always been so special.

“He was such a big part of our lives and he was amazing. He was the best dad. There is nothing I can say that would do him justice. He made this team a part of our lives and has always been so special to us.”

John H. credited his father on an early Saturday morning with his father in the Bucks offices for helping him find his career path, which included nine years in the public relations office at Milwaukee Brewers.

In fact, Steinmiller’s old office at the MECCA Arena is a memory of a former television theater man Jim Paschke remembers on a Tuesday – noting that he’ll see Steinmiller’s light no matter what time of the evening, or the early hours of the morning.

“He was level witty to show most people the ropes on some level – he could show anyone something about the game of basketball and the basketball trade,” Paschke said. “I would be hard pressed to think of someone who wasn’t able to help him in some way. That was his brilliance.

“But more than that, he was just a wonderful human being. Outward thinking, outward life, it was about other people and he was very consistent with that. One of the best people I ever wish I had known.”

The team released a statement that said, in part, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is saddened by the passing of team icon John F. Steinmiller.

“More than his impressive resume, John was one of the most generous, humble and loyal people that you might be fortunate enough to know that he was loved, appreciated and respected by his colleagues and Bucks fans alike. We send our deepest condolences to John’s wife, Corinne and their children, John and Mary. Kate and their entire family. The Bucks will always be grateful to John for his long dedication to the organization. We will miss him.”

Steinmiller is survived by his wife Corinne (Nairman) and son John H. Steinmiller, daughter Mary-Kate and granddaughter Nola James, along with his paternal brothers. Alex Steinmiller, Willie Steinmiller, Helen Veron, Neil Trainor, Fred Steinmiller, Frances Steinmiller and Alice Quinones.

Steinmiller, a Whitefish Bay resident for over 30 years, was born in Evanston, Illinois, before growing up in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He attended St Viator High School before joining Marquette and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1970.

Steinmiller has served on numerous community boards, including a term as chair at Visit Milwaukee, along with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Grand Committee, the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Urban Day School.

He was also instrumental in creating the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) fund with Eddie Doucet and former player and broadcaster John McGlocklin.

“He was indefatigable,” Paschke said. “I would use the word big to describe a huge man. He had endless energy, and boundless enthusiasm.

“You pointed out something very important – he spent all he had on dollars and then found another round of that for everyone. He was well recognized and appreciated for that, I think. It was really nice to see that part.”

“This is how he took it: he worked until the job was done and then found other jobs to do on top of that. He really is an amazing person and he’s touched so many people across so many different landscapes in this city and this state that it’s unbelievable. Remarkably .”

He is a member of the St Viator Athletics Hall of Fame and received a Professional Achievement Award from the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University.

“John was my friend, colleague, and one of my most trusted advisors,” Herb Cole, owner and former Senator of Pax, said in a statement. “He was respected and loved by every Bucks employee. Our ticket holders looked forward to seeing him at every game. I refer to him—and the community viewed him—as Mr. Milwaukee Bucks all along.

“Most importantly, he was a wonderful family man to his wife, children, and grandson. John will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.”

The visitation will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 14 at St. John the Evangelist’s Cathedral, 812 N. Jackson St. in Milwaukee. A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. A special celebration of life will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Major Goolsby’s, 340 W. Kilbourn Ave.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Steinmiller’s name to the MACC Fund are welcomed in www.maccfund.org or the Kinship Community Food Center in www.kinshipmke.org.

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