ESTHERVILLE - Funeral services for SSG Steven P. Blass, 27, of Estherville will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at the Estherville High School Gymnasium. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Monday at the Estherville High School Gymnasium with an awards presentation at 8 p.m. Interment with military honors will be held at North Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Spencer.
He returned to United States soil as a fallen hero on March 13, 2013, exactly seven years from the day he left for basic training.
Steven Patrick Blass was born April 1, 1985, in Estherville, the son of Randy and Carol (Erickson) Blass. He grew up in Estherville where he attended Estherville Lincoln Central Schools from kindergarten through graduation in May 2003. He then continued his education at Iowa Lakes Community College before joining the Army.
SSG Steven P. Blass
Steve's passion since he was a young boy was flying, taking flying lessons in his teen years. Star Wars and paint ball activities were two of his favorites along with golf and playing football in high school. With his family, he enjoyed collector cars, spectator racing, Minneapolis-Moline tractors, working and playing at the farm and just being together. He was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Estherville. Steve worked at Fishermen's Factory Outlet in Spirit Lake for several years before leaving to begin his career with the United States Army on March 13, 2006.
Upon finishing his basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. and his AIT training at Fort Eustis, Va., Steve was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. On May 15, 2009, Steve was united in marriage to Tricia Anne Stayer in Tennessee. After their marriage Steve was deployed to Camp Humphreys, Korea. Tricia joined him there in February 2010. From there they were stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Ga., in August 2011. Steve and Tricia were blessed with their son, Hayden Cole, born Nov. 1, 2011. Steve was deployed with the Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation to Kandahar, Afghanistan on Dec. 14, 2012.
Staff Sergeant Steve Blass died Monday, March 11, 2013 at the age of 27 in a Black Hawk, Black Hat 14, UH-60L #270 Helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan which also killed four other members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
His military honors include Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (2), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/Bronze Service Star (3), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Basic Aviation Badge, Parachutist Badge, Basic Combat and Special Skill Badge, Basic Marksmanship Badge and Bar. Rank: SSG, Weapon: Rifle Expert.
Left to celebrate Steve's life are his wife, Tricia, and son, Hayden, Savannah, Ga.; parents Randy and Carol (Erickson) Blass of Estherville; brother Matthew Blass and niece Jaycee Blass, Estherville; grandmother Elberta Erickson, Terril; mother and fathers-in-law, Patricia and Carl Rogers, and James Stayer, and sister-in-law, Rachel Stayer, all of Tennessee; uncle and aunt, Larry and Karen (Erickson) Stoller; uncle Chris Blass; aunt Coleen Blass; cousins Lyndsi (Jesse) Logan, Summer Stoller, Missy Heisler, Kristi (Seth) Hudgins, Jay (Wendy) Blass and many other family members and friends throughout the world.
Steve was preceded in death by his grandfathers, C. Don Erickson and Norman Blass; grandmother Dorothy Blass; uncle Michael Blass; uncle Gary Ridenour and cousin Katie Ridenour.
Online condolences may be sent to www.henryolsonfuneral.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Steve's memory are requested be made to the:
SSG Steve Blass Fund
Employees Credit Union
2714 Central Avenue, Estherville, IA 51334