West Seattle Blog… | Remembering Roger Steiner, 1969-2022


Family and friends remember Roger Steinerand to share this with his community:

Born February 7, 1969 in Pocatello, Idaho
Died March 16, 2022 in Seattle, 53
Parents: Gene and Sharon Steiner of Ketchum, Idaho
Husband: Joel Williams of Seattle
Cause of Death: Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy

Roger and Joel had been together for 21 years. The formalization of their relationship followed the path of same-sex marriage in that state/country. They became domestic partners in Washington State in 2007, and when the referendum passed for marriage in that state, the law stated that their partnership would turn into marriage in 2014, which it did. Of course, the Supreme Court of the United States also added its imprimatur somewhere in there.

Roger attended schools in Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho, then moved on to Community School in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he graduated in 1987. He attended Whitman College, graduating in 1991 with a major in history.

Roger’s hometown of Ketchum is a unique place loved by so many. Roger went to Ernest Hemingway Elementary School. The grave of Roger’s brother, Eric, is a short walk from Hemingway’s grave. Growing up in Ketchum is the kind of experience parents dream of giving their children – a closeness to nature that has fostered a great love of the outdoors. Roger could hike in the mountains just above the house he grew up in and name the flora and fauna, but he was no match for his mother Sharon in this sport. Ketchum is a small, tight-knit town where he knew others well and where others knew him, and where the bonds of friendship cross generations. Anyone who walked down a Ketchum sidewalk with Roger, even long after he was gone, knew there was little chance of getting more than half a block without running into a longtime friend or acquaintance and getting stop to chat.

Gene owned Chateau Drug in Ketchum and was the pharmacist there. Roger did a long-term “family internship” in running a business, growing up partly in the store. The lessons, the practices he learned there permeated his whole life. You have never experienced such a well-regarded pharmacy, and it shaped the practice of Roger’s future real estate business – genuine kindness and consideration for others, meticulous record keeping, immediate comfort and protection of the needs of others that he transmitted.

Roger grew up on skis in the winter, cruising the trails and rivers in the summer. His father is a gifted fly fisherman and Roger learned from the best. He enjoyed joining his father on streams and lakes and enjoyed sharing fishing with others.

During his time indoors, Roger grew up loving and playing music and was a good violinist, playing the instrument his grandfather brought with him when he emigrated from Switzerland. He wrote songs and enlivened many gatherings with his playing and singing.

Like his school’s namesake, Hemingway, Roger also loved books and was a lifelong writer, keeping diaries, writing restaurant reviews for a local Seattle newspaper, taking writing lessons, and always thinking of ways to share their experiences through literary expression. Her writing was sharp, compassionate and funny, and she left an impression.

After college, he spent time in Ketchum teaching drama at the community school. He moved to Boise soon after, worked in restaurants and most importantly continued to grow with the loving family he found there, friends who are dear and close to this day.

Roger moved to Seattle in 2000. He and Joel met before he even moved here, and were friendly acquaintances until love blossomed in 2001. They went through experiences like 9/11 together. and the pandemic, but have also strongly supported each other through careers and downs and changes, through struggles with Roger’s epilepsy, and also long seizure-free years. The idea that this condition could lead to this result was not a concept for them.

In 2004, they moved into their home in West Seattle, and around this time Roger transitioned into the life of a real estate agent and built his business almost entirely through word of mouth. His friends have referred clients to him and many of his clients have become friends. Their lives together have become a kind of Ketchum-on-Puget Sound.

Roger has always been physically active, enjoying Seattle by bike, often strolling through Lincoln Park, always up for a group exercise class where he inevitably found friendship and camaraderie. Two weeks before his death, Roger skied the entire vertical drop from Bald Mountain to Sun Valley several times, made new friends in the loving atmosphere of his childhood home and hometown, and returned to Seattle to helping clients enter and exit the real estate market with grace and expertise. He will forever be in our hearts, but his physical absence is a very difficult void to face.

Celebrations of Life will be held in Seattle and Ketchum this summer, dates to be determined.

Roger cared about many people and places. If you’re looking for a place to make a memorial donation, consider the Idaho Conservation League, the Seattle YMCA Social Impact Center, and the OutRight Action International LGBTIQ Fund.

(The BMS publishes Seattle Obituaries and commemorative announcements on request, free of charge. Please send the text, and a photo if available, to [email protected])

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