Richard's Story

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On April 6, 2017, much-adored husband, father, brother, and grandfather Richard P. Steffensen, of Lewisburg, slipped away quietly in the comfort of the home he so loved and cultivated; he was 78 years old. His was a life dedicated to the making of beautiful things, the results of which enriched the surroundings of his family, friends, and countless strangers who had no idea that he had touched their lives through his work.

Born in Lebanon, Pa. in 1938, he graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in art history. He translated this knowledge, as well as the woodworking craft he had learned at home as a youth, to a lifelong career designing traditional American furniture. He spent the bulk of his career designing for the Pennsylvania House furniture company, which brought him to Lewisburg in 1963, where he resided for the rest of his life. There he met his wife of more than 51 years, Elsbeth Sievers Steffensen, of Hannover, Germany; they had two children.

Over the course of the more than half century he lived in Lewisburg, not only did he design furniture for numerous other companies, including library furniture for the Brodart Company in Williamsport and fine, hand-finished mahogany pieces for Tradition House in Hanover, but he also donated his talents to the community at large. He was a major supporter and fundraiser for the Public Library for Union County and instrumental in the construction of the independent building. His interest in history and interiors prompted his longstanding relationships with the Union County Historical Society and the Packwood House Museum. He especially delighted in creating charming holiday scenes each year for the latter; his creativity and imagination knew no bounds.

He will be much missed by his wife, Elsbeth; his brother, Robert, of Utica, N.Y.; as well as his two children, Ingrid and Nils and their families, Ingrid Steffensen, Jeffrey Bruce, and granddaughter Emma Bruce, of New York City, and Nils and Christine Steffensen with grandchildren Lily, Cara, and Griffin Steffensen, of Kennett Square, Pa.

A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the Elias Chapel, 212 S. Fifth St., at Quarry Road, Mifflinburg.

Funeral arrangements are by John H. Shaw III Funeral Home, Market and Eighth streets, Lewisburg.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Richard's honor to the Packwood House Museum or the Union County Library.
Published on April 7, 2017
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