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Saturday, October 14, 2023
10:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
Christopher Adam “Chris” Stegman – age 55, of Hays, Kansas, passed away on Sunday, October 8, 2023 at Hays Medical Center.
He was born in Dodge City, Kansas, December 6, 1967, the fourth of four children of Dennis T. and Leslie (Davis) Stegman. Being the youngest child, Chris was forced to become the family comedian to get his share of attention, a role at which he excelled and continued to perfect his entire life. His children were forced to acquire the same skill in order to join the conversation.
Chris attended Sacred Heart Cathedral grade school in Dodge City, junior and senior high school in Dodge City and Midland, Texas. In 1986 he moved to Hays and in 1988 he joined the US Army Reserves. On December 26, 1990, he deployed with the 388th MEDSOM Unit and his best friend, Mark Nansel, to King Khalid Military City, Saudi Arabia, to serve in Operation Desert Storm, something that would prove pivotal in his life. He returned in April 1991 and soon became engaged to Debbie Burns. They were married November 30, 1991, in Hays and had three children, Garreth; Shelby; and Rebecca.
He worked at Heartland Building Center and the truss plant while volunteering with the Ellis County Rural Fire Department until he became a full time firefighter with the Hays Fire Department in 1998. He retired as a shift Captain in 2018. On his off days he worked with his dear friend, John Moravak at Professional Fire Equipment in Hays.
Chris was a proud veteran and very active with the VFW, serving as District Commander and Commander of the Fort Hays VFW Post #9076, a position he long said he would have to die out of. (He is looking for help to make the Stars and Stripes breakfast next month.) He was recognized in 2012 for completing the Certified Public Manager program through the University of Kansas. He had numerous certifications in emergency management through the National Fire Academy. He served on local and regional Hazmat teams and the Northwest Kansas Regional Homeland Security Council. He was deployed by FEMA for recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
The most important thing in Chris’s life was his family, especially his granddaughter Baylee, who called him Paw-Paw and he called her Bug. Everyone realized early that Baylee, perhaps, was his best comedic student, becoming a master at his humor. Everything he did revolved around her and his children.
Chris and Deb enjoyed attending concerts and seeing comedians. He never passed by a casino without stopping to see if he could take home some of their money, something he often did. Chris lived by the motto “Life’s a Gamble”. He taught his children that “If you’re not early, you’re late”. He was usually the first to arrive for any party or family gathering, sporting his trademark floral shirt and appropriate (or inappropriate) jokes.
On August 30 Chris was diagnosed with renal cancer that had metastasized to other parts of his body. The VA has determined that the cancer was directly related to his service in Desert Storm. Despite his intention of fighting, the cancer was too widespread and aggressive.
His is survived by his wife, Deb, of the home; his three children, Garreth and Shelby of Hays, KS; Rebecca, of Arlington Heights, IL; his granddaughter, Baylee; his three siblings, Denise Riedel and husband, Charlie, of Overland Park, KS; Sabrina Howerton and husband, Doug, of Cape Coral, FL; Steve Stegman and wife, Judith, of Texarkana, TX; his stepfather, Wayne Jobe, of Kansas City, KS; his mother-in-law, Marie Burns, of Concordia, KS; nieces and nephews, Andy Riedel; Josh Edge; Elizabeth Hiatt and husband, Thomas; Curtis Edge and wife, Katie; Steven Stegman and wife, Tara; Victoria Jones and husband, Larry; Katherine Riedel and husband, Cody Fiola; his aunts, Betty Gallaway, of Crystal City, MO, Chris Lowery and husband, Tom, of Dodge City, KS; Stephanie Koenke and husband, Richard, Eloy, AZ; his six great nieces and nephews; and lots of cousins.
Chris was preceded in death by his parents Dennis Stegman and Leslie Jobe.
Family and friends are invited to gather from 12:00 to 1:20 P.M. Friday, October 13, at Clines-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, before going to the Kansas Veterans Cemetery in WaKeeney, KS for a 2:00 P.M. burial with Military Honors by the Hays V.F.W. Post # 9076. (Chris would love being buried on Friday the 13th, the day before a “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse).
A Celebration Of Life Service will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, October 14, 2023, at Cline’s-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, with Pastor Josh Gelatt officiating. The Hays Fire Department will present honors and the Last Call. Chris requests that military and first responders wear Class As to the service. Everyone else should wear their favorite Hawaiian shirt, or borrow one from his closet.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. Friday, and from 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. Saturday, at Cline’s-Keithley Mortuary of Hays.
In lieu of flowers, Chris wants his friends and family to make donations to Baylee’s education fund, made payable to: Deborah Stegman in care of Cline’s-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas 67601.
Condolences can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com or left at guestbook at www.keithleyfuneralchapels.com
Chris’s body was cremated because he said he would finally have a smoking, hot body.