Service Date: 02/26/2019 at 12:00 PM
Location:St. Leo Catholic Church
Stephen John Mondau passed away peacefully on February 17, 2019 with family by his side. He was preceded in death by Eloise, his wife of 66 years, and his parents, Luzon and Noemah. He is survived by his five children, Fritz (Barb), Cathy (Ronnie Moody), Chris (Laura), Louie (Cathy), Joe (Kris King), 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and his sister, Peggy Lunceford and her family. As the patriarch of the Mondau family, he set an example of commitment to his ideals, dedication to his faith and unconditional love for his family and friends. His genuine warmth for others was felt by those who knew him and serves as an example for the rest of us to follow.
Dad was born October 3, 1926 in Tacoma, Washington and attended Stadium High School, where he was a standout athlete and student leader. Soon after high school he joined the navy, and while enrolled in the Navy Flight Training Program in Pensacola, Florida, met our mother, Eloise. They were married in 1948, then moved to Seattle and started our family. After earning his teaching degree, he moved his family to Tacoma and began work with the Tacoma School District. He was a valued teacher, principal and district level administrator for his entire career, and in 1966 was chosen as the first Tacoma administrator to take the position of Headmaster/Superintendent of the American International School in Lagos, Nigeria. After a two year assignment, he returned to Tacoma as the Director of National Teacher Corps and later as Director of Extended Education. In 1973 he returned to Lagos for a three year assignment and continued working to improve the school facilities and enhance the educational program. Upon his return to Tacoma in 1976, he returned to his role as an elementary school principal. It was pretty brave for Mom and Dad to uproot our family and move to Africa, at times meaning that the family was temporarily broken up. But truly, it was an experience that has enriched our lives tremendously and served as an example of being willing to move beyond our comfort zone and have confidence that we can adapt, learn and grow from challenging experiences.
Dad had many interests and talents; taking his turn at coaching youth sports, hiking, fishing, and family camping. He volunteered to teach evening civil defense classes in the early sixties. He participated in educational program development and instruction through St. Leo Parish. He enjoyed his times with Sons of Italy members and carried on the tradition of making the family Zinfandel wine the old fashion way. Golfing was another love, and he kept a regularly scheduled tee time at Fircrest Golf Club with good friends. He would dazzle us with reports of golfing his age at 86 and then doing even better at age 90. From having golfed with Dad many times, we knew he only fudged his score a little!
Another hobby, a real passion, was his love of barbershop music and singing with the Tacoma TotemAires. Dad had been a member for over 60 years, and we kids grew up humming tunes and enjoying the barbershop culture through watching his quartet practice and going to barbershop shows, picnics and campouts. The friendships that he and our family have made through barbershop music have been extremely rewarding and meaningful in his life, and he had been especially gratified by the recent increase in the membership and improvement in the quality of the chorus’ performance. Dad was a steady, avid fan and participant, and supported and worked tirelessly to help maintain and improve the success of the TotemAires. The Steve Mondau award is given each year to a member who exemplifies the loyalty, dedication and commitment that has been modeled by Dad over the years, and he has actually won the award a couple times himself!
Above all else in importance to Dad was his strong faith in God and the guidance and comfort he gained from his beliefs. He used the strength derived from his faith to help him become, and consistenly be, the loving, caring, nurturing father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend to all of us Mondaus and to his extended family and friends. We all echo his 7 year old great-grandson who said to him in his final days, “I love you, Grampa Steve. I’ll see you in Heaven.”
A funeral mass will be celebrated on _____________________ at ____________at St. Leo Church in Tacoma. There will be a reception following at St. Leo. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Leo Food Connection or St. Leo Emergency Services.
Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home