VisitationSTRICKLAND FUNERAL HOME - CALDWELL
CALDWELL, Texas 77836
Mary Anthony Houston Steinke, wife of the late Gil Steinke, passed into eternity with God on January 15, 2020 after a short illness. Born to Douglas Clair Houston, Sr. and Huline Houston in 1923 in Caldwell, Texas, Mary led a varied, interesting, and oftentimes exciting life that taught her to be friendly, kind, and loving to all she met. Mary, and her brother, Douglas, spent their Depression Years lives moving around almost yearly while their father chased jobs from one Texas town to another. But Mary and Doug learned how to make friends along the way and develop outgoing personalities that served them well throughout their lives. A little known fact about Mary is that this 5’1”, 100-pound girl played the big bass drum in the high school marching band! Talk about a way to make friends and have fun!
Mary attended Sul Ross College for two years, but her mother missed her and convinced her to move home—that was quite a turning point in mother’s life! Her parents were living in Alice, Texas, and Mary’s father loved football. He attended many games at Texas A&I College in nearby Kingsville. One of Mr. Houston’s favorite players was named Gilbert Steinke, and Mary’s father eventually introduced his daughter to this great player. It took two proposals before Mary said yes, and then her life was filled with the exciting world of NFL football as Gil played for the Philadelphia Eagles. With twin sons, Larry and Leslie, family life began in Philadelphia, but Gil’s neck injury led them back to Texas. The next phase of Mary’s life changed a bit, first adding a daughter, Jan, and second because Gil began his coaching stints--Trinity, Oklahoma A&M, and Texas A&M. In 1954, the Steinke family headed to Texas A&I at Kingsville, where Gil had played his college ball, to be the head coach and athletic director.
Mary settled into the life of being a wonderful housewife and mother and a superb coach’s wife. With her earlier accolades of being most popular during high school and college, Mary continued to love being with people and entertaining players, coaches, staff members, and friends. She set beautiful dinner tables and loved cooking while enjoying the social life of a small town. The years as Gil Steinke’s wife and best friend were the happiest years of her life. Mary thrived in the excitement of the competition of the football games and was known to tell Gil how the team could have played a better game! Her daughter wrote the following about Mary for Mary’s 90th birthday:
“Mary Steinke was truly the “woman behind the man.” Besides raising three children, Mary dedicated her life to providing an atmosphere at home that allowed Gil Steinke to become the outstanding coach so many people admired. Mary was Gil’s best friend. He turned to her for advice about hiring coaches, he took her on recruiting trips and to coaching schools, and he always talked to her about his job. There’s no doubt that Mary kept the wheels of Gil’s life running as smoothly as possible so he could dedicate himself to a career he loved. Most people want to tell ‘Gil Steinke’ stories, but they are also aware that it was Mary’s abilities as a wife that gave Gil the strength to be a good man and a great coach!”
Although there were challenges along the way, Mary found joy in life. She certainly loved her children and made sure they were involved in family life, went to church, and were educated. Mary always had time for her grandchildren, Trenton, Larissa, Jessica, Julia, and Barton. They have special memories of times they all spent with Mary, their Mimi. Losing Gil, Larry, and Leslie so soon in life was difficult, but Mary, ever independent, continued to stand up for herself and control her own life until it was impossible to do anymore. She was still teasing people around her well into her 90s, and so many different people enjoyed just being with her. Mary will be missed by many people, but please know that she is with God praising Him now. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26 ESV