HIGHLAND, IN - Dr. Lowell H. Steen, distinguished physician and devoted husband and father, died peacefully on October 5, 2019 at the age of 95. He was widely admired for his tremendous devotion to the practice of medicine, compassion for his patients and dedicated to teaching and mentoring young physicians and nurses. Dr. Steen gave his entire professional life to the people of Northwest Indiana, where he practiced for 46 years treating thousands of patients.
Dr. Steen is survived by his loving wife Cheryl, his daughters Linda (Mark) Heister, Laura (Peter) Wisner, Lowell H. Steen, Jr., M.D., Heather (Craig) Scott, and Kirsten (Mark) Lestina, in addition to grandchildren Haley and Harrison Scott, and Max and Claire Lestina. He was preceded in death by his father, the Rev. Joseph A. Steen, mother Marie Henriksen Steen, and sisters Ruth (Richard) Costin and Phyllis (Louis) Sancya.
Dr. Steen was born on November 27, 1923 at St. Catherine's hospital in Kenosha, WI. He attended grade school at Wiley High School in Terre Haute, IN. During his junior year, he and his family moved to East Chicago where he graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1942. He received his Bachelor's Degree, in addition to his Doctor of Medicine Degree, from Indiana University in 1948. Following his education at IU, he completed internships at the Mercy Hospital and Loyola University clinics in Chicago. Dr. Steen also completed a residency in internal medicine at the Veteran's Hospital of Hines, IL.
At the completion of his internship, Dr. Steen was called to active duty in the Army Medical Corps. He was stationed with the 25th Artillery Division in Nara, Japan. In addition to being the only medical officer serving the troops at that location, he was responsible for 6000 dependent wives and children. Dr. Steen then remained in the active reserve, serving with the 367th Station Hospital located in the Armory at Gary, IN. In 1953, he joined the staff at St. Catherine's Hospital in East Chicago. At St. Catherine's, Dr. Steen was the Director of Medical Education, Chairman of the Credentials Committee, Medical Director of the Intensive Care unit in addition to serving as a member of the Executive Committee and Bylaws Committee. However, prior to fulfilling most of these roles, he was called to active duty in 1955 due to a shortage of medical doctors in service. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Hospital in Salzburg, Austria as the Chief of medical service.
Upon returning home from Austria, he joined the Whiting Clinic where he practiced until 1984. After, he co-founded Drs. Steen Reed and Associates. He later joined the staff at the Community Hospital of Munster, where he served as Chairman of the Bioethics Committee and member of the Credentials and Pharmacy Committees. Upon retirement, he was made an honorary member of the medical staff of both St. Catherine's and the Community Hospital of Munster.
Dr. Steen was a distinguished member of many professional and social organizations, including the Lake County Medical Society, the Indiana State Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians (Fellow), the Indiana Society of Internal Medicine, the American Society of Internal Medicine and the American Group Practice Association. Over the course of various years, Dr. Steen was also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana State Medical Association, President of the Indiana State Medical Association, President of the Indiana Society of Internal Medicine, President of the Indiana University Medical School Alumni Association, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the World Medical Association, Chairman of the Board of the American Medical Association and served on the Board of Directors of the Indiana Heart Association. He belonged to the First Presbyterian Church of Highland where he served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and became an honorary Elder.
In addition to participating heavily in the above professional organizations, Dr. Steen was a founding member of the Gateway Gold and Country Club in Fort Myers, FL. He belonged to Woodmar Country Club in Hammond for many years, Briar Ridge Country Club, Innsbrook Country Club in Merrillville and the Club International in Chicago. He was a member of the Acacia Fraternity and the Phi Chi medical fraternity at Indiana University.
Dr. Steen was the recipient of a number of awards, the most prestigious of which included the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Indiana University, the Distinguished Internist Award from the American Society of Internal Medicine, and the Sagamore of the Wabash Award. Dr. Steen was also bestowed the title of Kentucky Colonel by the governor of Kentucky for his outstanding service to his community and country.
In spite of Dr. Steen's many hours of professional and social activity, he found time to enjoy his lifelong hobby of woodworking. In his later years, he enjoyed watercolor painting and read nonfiction extensively. He was particularly fond of books involving World War II. He also began practicing golf quite late at age 65, and was even distinguished by the Gateway Country Club for the highest handicap of the group-46!
Dr. Steen often said "Life hasn't always been a bowl of cherries. But, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my life's experiences as a strong 9!"
Friends may visit with Lowell's family on Friday, October 11, 2019 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at BURNS FUNERAL HOME, 10101 Broadway, Crown Point. Funeral will be held on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Highland, 8727 Delaware St., Highland. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: First Presbyterian Church of Highland Endowment Fund, 8727 Delaware St. Highland, IN 46322, or IU School of Medicine, Northwest Scholarship Care of IU Foundation, Post Office Box 6460, Indianapolis, IN 46206-6460. www.burnsfuneral.com