Madeline passed away on October 20, 2020 at Sanford Care Center in Chamberlain at the age of 101 years.
Madeline Sena Mayer was born August 29, 1919 to Marie (Krull) and John Mayer in Buffalo County on the family farmstead along the banks of Crow Creek. She was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church. She attended school at Gann Valley and following her graduation from Gann Valley High School in 1937, Madeline pursued a nursing career through St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre, SD. She and eight other students received their Registered Nursing Diplomas in May of 1940. While in nurses training, which was taught by the Nuns of St. Mary’s, she would always tell the story of the first penicillin shot that was administered at that hospital because the Sister giving the shot emphasized that the students need to remember this because they were “watching history”. Madeline returned to Chamberlain in 1941 to work for Dr. T. Jones at the Chamberlain Sanitarium. On June 14, 1941, Madeline was united in marriage to Raymond Steckelberg at the home of Lucy Steckelberg. The family moved to Kimball in 1947 and there she cared for relatives, friends, and neighbors and also many cancer patients in their homes. In 1958, Ray purchased a men’s wear store and Madeline returned to begin working at the Community Bailey Hospital. She became the Director of Nursing in 1975, a position she held for eight years. She assisted longtime physician L.W. Holland with surgeries and made rounds with him each day. Madeline was on call 24-7 during the time when the Big Bend Dam Project was being built.
A wonderful tribute to Madeline is all the stories of young girls starting at the hospital as a candy striper or aide only to later achieve their RN degree all because they worked with Madeline. One of her greatest honors was to place the RN pin on Vickie Mills who pursued her degree because of Madeline.
Madeline enjoyed playing Bridge and belonged to multiple Bridge Clubs. While living at the Regency Retirement she played bridge weekly up to turning 100 years old.
Gratefully sharing her life are her children Linda (Duane) Miller, David Steckelberg, Duane (Sheryl) Steckelberg; many grandchildren; many great grandchildren; several great great grandchildren; a sister Alice (Ronald) Scranton; two sisters-in-law Lorraine Mayer and Loretta Glass; and many nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her parents, her husband Raymond, three brothers Clarence and spouse, Raymond and spouse, and Johnnie, a sister Donna Bridge and spouse, and the mother of three of her granddaughters Linda Cullen.