Deacon R. William Steltemeier Jr., 83, founding president of
religious media network EWTN, died Feb. 15 at his home in Hanceville, Ala.,
after a long illness.
EWTN is available in over 225 million TV homes in more than
140 countries, according to the company.
"Other than Mother Angelica herself, there is no one who has
been more closely associated with the mission of EWTN throughout its history
than Deacon Bill Steltemeier," said EWTN president Michael P. Warsaw in a
He became the network's first president when it was formed
in 1980, as well as a founding board member. A lawyer in private practice, he
resigned from his firm to take on that job full time. He became chairman and
CEO when network founder Mother Angelica retired in March 2000. Steltemeier
retired in 2009, but was a member of the board of governors until his death.
He is survived by his wife, Ramona, a brother and several
nieces. A son and daughter predeceased him.