Milwaukee Bucks executive vice president John F. Steinmiller died Tuesday at age 73 after a short battle with cancer.
Steinmiller had been synonymous with the organization, beginning his career with the franchise in 1970 while still a student at Marquette University. In his more than 50 years with the Bucks, he’s held many roles, from starting out part-time to front office. He started as an administrative assistant and eventually moved into the position of public relations manager in 1972, becoming the youngest professional sportsman to hold that position.
He spent more than 30 years as executive vice president of business operations.
Steinmiller celebrated his 50th anniversary with the team in the 2019–20 season and was in attendance for both championships in franchise history.
The team released a statement that read, in part, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is heartbroken by the passing of team icon John F. Steinmiller.
“More than his impressive resume, John was one of the kindest, humblest and most loyal people you will ever have the chance to know. He was adored, appreciated and respected by his colleagues and Bucks fans. deepest condolences to John’s wife, Corrine, their children, John and Mary Kate, and their entire family. The Bucks will always be grateful to John for his long dedication to the organization. He will be missed.”
Steinmiller is survived by his wife, Corinne (Nierman), son John H. Steinmiller, daughter Mary Kate and granddaughter Nola James, and siblings, father. Alex Steinmiller, Willy Steinmiller, Hélène Fearon, Nell Trainor, Fred Steinmiller, Francis Steinmiller and Alice Quinones.
A resident of Whitefish Bay for over 30 years, Steinmiller was born in Evanston, Illinois before growing up in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He attended St. Viator High School before enrolling at Marquette and earning a journalism degree in 1970.
Steinmiller has served on numerous community boards, including a term as President of Visit Milwaukee, alongside Big Brothers Big Sisters of Milwaukee, Committee of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee Bucks Foundation, YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee and Milwaukee Urban Day School.
He was also instrumental in establishing the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) fund with former Bucks radio play-by-play voice Eddie Doucette and former player and broadcaster Jon McGlocklin.
He is a member of the St. Viator Athletics Hall of Fame and has won the Professional Excellence Award from the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communications at Marquette University.
“John was my friend, colleague and one of my most trusted advisors,” Herb Kohl, the Bucks’ former owner and senator, said in a statement. “He was respected and loved by all Bucks employees. Our ticket holders looked forward to seeing him at every game. I would call him – and the community considered him – the all-time Mr. Milwaukee Bucks.
“Most importantly, he was a wonderful family man to his wife, children and grandchildren. John will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
Visitation will be at 1 p.m. Friday, October 14 at Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson St. in Milwaukee. A memorial mass will begin at 2 p.m. A celebration of life will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Major Goolsby’s, 340 W. Kilbourn Ave.
In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome in Steinmiller’s name to the MACC Fund at www.maccfund.org or the Kinship Community Food Center at www.kinshipmke.org.