LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Thursday evening, friends and family of Edmund Steffler gathered at The Hangar 743 to honor the beloved veteran and celebrate this milestone birthday. The early birthday celebrations came as a surprise to the local hero, ‘he didn’t really make the decision to make it to 100, it just happened,’ he said.
Edmund Steffler was born in Watervliet on April 9, 1921 to Michael Stefanowicz and Sophie Miezwa who originally immigrated from Poland to Hazelton, PA. Steffler graduated from Watervliet High School In 1939 and entered military service with the 105th Infantry, 27th Division, on October 15, 1940.
He served bravely for the United States, in Hawaii, and the Island of Tinian in a B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombardment squadron with the Army Air Corps. The squadron’s mission focused on the strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands and the destruction of Japan’s war-making capabilities. The squadron flew its final combat missions on August 14, 1945 when hostilities ended. Post war, its B-29s carried relief supplies to Allied prisoner of war camps in Japan and Manchuria.
Steffler was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain in November 1945. He entered Siena College and earned a BBA in Accounting in 1949, followed by a lengthy career in business and finance. He was later employed by Farm Credit Association, Equitable Life Insurance Company, and 30 years as Treasurer of Farm Family Insurance Company, until his retirement January 1, 1984.
The secret to making it to 100? According to Edmund, ‘life happens’ and when it’s your time, it’s your time.
He has been active in the community and a member of the Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Colonie Elks, and Our Lady of Assumption Church where he served as Eucharistic Minister and Usher.