Glenn Steil Sr., former state senator & Grand Rapids businessman, dies at 69

2:08 PM, May 8, 2010   |    comments
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Glenn Steil Sr. (left), with friend Bob Sullivan in a 2007 file photo.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Glenn Steil Sr., who pushed to get term limits for elected officials before serving eight years in the Michigan Senate, died today at 69, according to his family.

Steil was in Bonita Springs, FL, this morning, walking his dog with his wife when he suffered a heart attack.

The family says funeral arrangements are still pending.

Steil was a successful businessman, involved in local hotels and the furniture industry. 

"He fought very hard all his life for what he believed in and he was a champion," says his life-long friend, Bob Sullivan.

In 1992, Steil served as co-chairman of the successful statewide drive for Proposal B, the constitutional amendment that institute term limits for elected state lawmakers and executives.

In 1993, Steil made a run to fill the Congressional seat held by the late Paul Henry.  When Vern Ehlers won the seat, Steil ran for and won the 32nd District state senate seat Ehlers vacated.

Steil served eight years in the senate, and once comtemplated a run for Grand Rapids mayor.

Steil and his friend and business partner Bob Sullivan worked together on several community philanthropy projects.  They raised money for the Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth's center for children.  The Steil Center opened in 2000. The men also teamed up in 2007 to pay for free admission to Grand Rapids' city pools for all children 17 and under.

"I admire anyone who has the wealth, the where-with-all to do something utterly different but they commit themselves to their community," says Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.

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