Allan Steinberg, 79, of Champaign died Tuesday night December 29th at the Champaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. In accordance with his wishes, no services are planned; but he and his family were grateful for the visits and outpouring of concern shown during his illness.
Born in 1935 to Samuel and Sophie (Bodner) Steinberg, Allan grew up and attended school in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BS degree from New York University in 1956 and was working on a Master’s degree in Geology when he was inducted into the Army. After completing service, he realized that his real professional passion was books—and books and publishing became his work and his hobby for the next 50 years. He started as a sales representative for Crowell-Collier in Philadelphia and then for Frederick Praeger and Company in Chicago before coming to the University of Illinois Press as National Sales Manager in 1965. He also started an antiquarian book business, Stonehill’s, and many came to him for appraisal services as well.
Allan married Cecile Gerletz in 1958 and they celebrated their 56th anniversary on December 21st. He is survived by his wife, their three children, Peter, Johanna (Mark Koneval) and Frederick (Beth Willson), seven grandchildren, one brother, Bert and his wife Nancy, sister-in-law Harriet Heilweil (Israel), four nieces and a nephew.
“A publisher knows a little bit about everything,” he would say, and he shared his many interests, delighting in matching the books and “treasures” he found with others who cared about them. He enjoyed travel, museums, and the performing arts, especially the offerings at the Krannert Center; and he frequently chauffeured friends to Chicago for opera and plays.
Another joy was flying, and he dearly cherished his pilot’s license—almost as much as he loved his family and his dogs. That love of dogs was translated into action as he worked to establish the first dog park in the area.
Allan believed that public libraries are “the last bastion of democracy,” and in retirement devoted much time and energy to the Champaign Public Library. He was president of both the Library Board and the Friends of the Library Board. In the latter capacity he was instrumental in reorganizing and streamlining the Friends Book Shop, which has become, under his guidance, both a significant source of income for the library and a resource for the community.
Memorials may be made to the Champaign Public Library, WILL, or the Champaign Park District Dog Park. Or remember him by walking your dog, planting a tree, or reading a book.
Condolences may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.
Rich and Margaret Martin were saddened to hear of Allan's death. We always enjoyed sharing a glass of wine at The Illinois Club's Winelovers Group with Allan and Cecile. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cecile and the whole family. Allan will be missed.
Cecile and family,
Tom and I are so sad to hear of Allan’s passing. We remember fondly our times together, first with flying, then with Floppy D Software. I shared many road trips with Allan from 1983 to 1986, going to/from Chicago to attend training and trade shows for the latest and greatest software and computers. We learned a lot together before he backed away to spend more time with Stonehill’s. I closed the business down in 1986 after our second child was born. But what a ride we had for 3 years during the birth of personal computers!
Tom and Allan shared the flying “bug”. After Tom began his flying career with Continental Airlines in 1986 (from which he retired in Nov 2013), we lost track of lots of local friends because of time commitments with his commuting and our many business ventures, as well as spending what precious time we had when Tom was home with our children (now 32 and 29). We continued to live (and still do) in Philo while he was based in Houston (2 years), then Guam (2 years), then Newark (until retirement). Our schedule revolved around Tom’s commute, so maintaining local connections was difficult. We regret having lost contact, but we have great memories of those times.
Again, our heartfelt condolences for your loss. We will always cherish our past times together and memories of Allan.
Chris and Tom Payne
To: family of Allan Steinberg
From: Phyllis Cline
I am extending expressions of sympathy for the death of Allan from myself and on behalf of IOTE. His support for the arts, and especially for opera, was much appreciated, and we mourn his loss.
Cecile and family:
We are thinking of you and of the joy we have had with Allan over the many years of knowing you all. Have courage for the future. Allan loved a good conversation, and with him it was punctually invariably with gleeful laughter.
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Moon and stars pour their gentle light on you.
Gaelic Blessing, adapted.
Dick and Jenny Harvey
It is with great sadness that my wife and I saw the obituary of Allan in the News-Gazette and we would like to extend our sincere condolence to Allan's family. We have always enjoyed our meetings with Allan and our talks about music and opera. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially with you, Cecile.
Dorothy and Karl-Heinz Schoeps
Cecile, I’m very sorry to hear of Allan’s passing. I’m sure you and your family have many wonderful memories to recall in hopes of easing your sorrow.
Sincerely, Mary Jane Cramer (former co-worker at McKinley)