Date of Birth

July 4, 1935

Date of Death

January 31, 2022

Steve Skaper, age 86, of Marseilles, IL, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Monday, January 31, 2022.

He was born in Felsoszolnok, Hungary on July 4, 1935, to proud and loving parents, Steve Sr. and Maria Skaper.

Steve attended local schools until the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He escaped the Soviet Army by fleeing with his cousin to Austria. He and his cousin faced peril at every turn from soldiers, barbwire, checkpoints and fields full of landmines which they traversed painstakingly, lying low to detect footprints that led the way to safety. Once in Austria, Steve was able to contact his aunt who lived in the United States. Two years passed from his escape to his immigration to Eastlake, Ohio, two years in which his mother had no idea whether he was alive. He found work at Ohio Gear before supporting his new country by enlisting in the United States Army. Steve proudly served his country and was stationed in Germany until his honorable discharge and return to civilian life. He once again began working for Ohio Gear, which later became Towmotor before becoming Caterpillar Inc.

He met the love of his life, Joan, through his cousin who had married Joan’s sister. They were united on October 17, 1964 in Buffalo NY, where Joan grew up. The moved to Willowick, OH, for nine years before Steve was transferred to Illinois. They made Kaneville their home for 22 years before they were transferred again, this time for Joan’s job. They made nine years of memories in New Jersey before returning to the Midwest in 2004, building their current home in Marseilles, IL.  

Steve was a machine who worked tirelessly for his family and was intensely proud of his United States Citizenship, which he was awarded in 1993. Although he was a quiet man who thought before he spoke, and who tended to keep to himself. Steve showed how much he loved his family with action rather than words. In good times and bad, Steve was the bedrock of the family. He enjoyed the simple things in life, content when he was surrounded by the grandchildren and his perfectly manicured lawn that reminded everyone of a golf course. Life may have moved at slower pace for Steve, but it was the opposite when he got behind the wheel. Then, the miles flew by in a blink of an eye. His sweet tooth was supreme and was never far from indulging in candy, baked goods and more. This inclination was handed down to his children much to their own sweet tooths delight.  Rare was a time when he let his sense of humor show, but when he did, it shone bright. His physical presence may be gone, but the memories he made will surround the hearts of all who loved him.

He is survived by his loving wife of almost 58 years, Joan; two children: Steven L. Skaper, Sharon A. (David) Smith; 14 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren with one more on the way; four siblings:  sister Irene (Ferenc) Kispál, brother József (Ani) Skaper, Laci (Panni) Skaper, Mária (Karoly) Doncsecz; many nieces nephews and a family of friends.   

He is preceded in death by his parents, Steve Sr. and Mária Skaper, a brother József in infancy, and one daughter, Julia Marie Henrikson.

Private family services have already been held.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, Memories and tributes may be left on the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at

Private family services have already been held.