Richard John Steves: Lover of music, boats and travel

Richard Steves

Richard John Steves

Oct 3, 1930 – Nov 5, 2018

Richard Steves (known to his friends as Dick) was born in Seattle on October 3, 1930, to Grace and Art Romstad. He grew up on Queen Anne Hill with a circle of friends he treasured for as long as they lived. Dick became a Steves when he was adopted by Grace’s second husband, Bill.

With a passion for boats from the beginning, Dick worked several newspaper routes to afford his hobby. His early boats, which he piloted to trophies racing the Sammamish Slough as a teenager, were the first in a lifelong parade — each one a little bigger than the last.

Dick graduated with a music degree from the University of Washington, married June Fremmerlid — his wife of over 50 years — and served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army.

Dick dedicated a long and productive career to bringing beautiful music to our world. He was a beloved band director at several Seattle-area high schools. His brass quintet was in high demand for Easter Sunrise services. He later became a piano technician, then an importer of pianos, and was much appreciated for bringing the finest instruments in the world from Germany to Seattle. Whether tuning pianos or selling them, he gave countless music lovers what came to be known as the “Steves Sound of Music” (which happened to be the name of his piano retail store).

Even more than boats and helping people enjoy great music, Dick’s mission and passion was being a loving and devoted husband and father. He and June had three children — Rick, Jan, and Linda — and were blessed with six grandchildren. And, with the even keel June provided, Dick made sure his Norwegian sense of adventure and love of life was instilled in each child.

Dick loved to travel — whether boating in the San Juans, camping “east of the mountains” in humbler times, or exploring distant corners of our world in his later years. His last boat (the Junie) and his little cabin in the Cascades provided a springboard for wonderful family times and a much-enjoyed retirement.

Dick’s dedicated his last healthy decade to June and her struggle with Alzheimer’s. While devastated by the loss of his wife, his own last decade was marked by a continued love of life, a twinkle in his eye, a positive attitude, and an endless appetite for bacon.

Dick passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones, knowing he was a child of God, and confident that he’d soon be in the arms of his savior, Jesus. With his passing, we can be thankful for all he brought the world and for a richly blessed life. In the memory of Richard Steves, we can celebrate a life well-lived, dedicated to love and service, and filled with joy.

If you are moved to make a memorial donation, Dick would tell you, “Treat yourself to a concert, enjoy the music, and support the people who make it.”

11 Replies to “Richard John Steves: Lover of music, boats and travel”

  1. I had the blessing to know Dick during his time at Full Life Care in Everett. He made sure to say a positive word to anyone who crossed his path throughout the day. I am truly sorry for your loss but am grateful to know he is at peace. Will there be a service?


  2. I am sorry to hear of the loss. Although I did not know Dick, I did know his daughter Linda. She is a lovely women and can only imagine she had a wonderful father. May he Rest In Peace. My sympathy goes out to the entire family.


  3. We bought our first family piano from Dick and he tuned it regularly so we got to know him and his gifted son. We were always grateful to see Rick bring his dad to our Sno-King Community Chorale concerts and to have a chance to visit with them afterwards. We will all miss this gentle, kind and giving spirit who brought so much to our business and cultural environment in Edmonds.


  4. Dick was truly a gentle man We purchased a piano from him in 1976, and from that point on he always would say “Hi” and chat a bit whenever I would run into him in the community or at Cascade Symphony concerts. His clearly instilled a love of the community and music in his children, as has been demonstrated by Rick’s generosity to our town.


  5. I have many very happy memories of our dear Dick Steves, all relating to music sharing, friendship and a Sauter piano purchase from him so many years ago. Dick will always be remembered by his beautiful music and his kind, caring, happy personality and sweet heart. He was an extraordinary man, musician, piano tuner, businessman and all around friend. It was an honor to know Dick. Blessings to the Steves family as you all reflect on your Dad’s amazing life.


  6. Dick Was the father of my sister-in-law Linda Steves and the grandfather to my neice Caleigh. If you know these two women then you know the importance of such a man as Dick. The day that my brother Michael told me about Linda he quite simply said she was the nicest person he had ever met and when we met Linda we saw how special she was in so many ways. She was sweet and kind and soft-spoken and laughed easily with us all and easily won our hearts however as her mother-in-law came to joke about in Later years, seemed to have way too many “interesting” stories from her life in Seattle and her family endeavors than her young age should attest too. Yes, the Steves family seemed to have had quite an adventurous life indeed and at the lead was Linda’s father Dick. This love of life was a gift he gave to his children along with his great love for each one of them. My brother Mike loved his father-in-law my neice loved her grandfather and my sister-in-law adored her father that Is a testimony to Dick. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda’s parents for an extended stay in RI and I will never forget how fun and warm they were and Dicks great smile and laugh! He told us he now had a Rhode Island family … he was a great big warm and genuine human being and I know will be terribly missed by his family. All our love and sympathy to you all from Michael’s family in RI.


  7. Thinking of you Rick & family during this time. Such a legacy he left. I remember the piano store at 4th & Main 🙂


  8. Dick Steves tuned our family piano for years. My children, Jim and Deborah Quigley attended Edmonds H.S. with his children while I was the E.H.S.School Nurse. I remember how Dick engineered the purchase of a Bösendorfer grand piano for Edmonds H.S. Dick and June were always gracious when meeting them at various events. He will be missed.


  9. Dick was a wonderful human being. I had the extreme pleasure of knowing him at Full Life Care. His smile and that twinkle in his eye was something I looked forward to each time I encountered him. My condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed.


  10. Thanks for hosting all of those holiday parties, it was a magical time, my first experience seeing great piano playing by the way.


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