Heidi Steffen, 94, passed away on July 23, four days before her 95th birthday, at El Castillo Retirement Community in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was in the comfort of her own room with her granddaughter by her side. She went peacefully.
Heidi was born to the late Professor Fritz Gassmann and Rosa Gassmann in Aarau, Switzerland on July 27, 1926. She grew up in an active family enjoying hikes and nature which she continued throughout her life. She married the late Professor Rolf Steffen in Zurich, Switzerland March 12, 1949 and shortly thereafter moved across the Atlantic to West Lafayette, Indiana where he taught at Purdue University. It was there where they raised their two children, Roy and Claudine, while living a full life traveling the world, collecting art, teaching continental cooking classes, along with entertaining many guests from near and far in Indiana and also at the beautiful vacation home they built in Sanibel, Florida. Rolf and Heidi moved to Tesuque, New Mexico in 1981 into a beautiful home built and designed by Rolf in Vista Redondo while he took a research position at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Heidi made many friends in many different circles during this time. She was known to be one of the best cooks and hostesses in the area. She loved all animals but especially dogs, yoga, cooking, *[ classical music, opera] her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, traveling, mushrooming, and hiking. She was part of the local Wednesday Irregulars hiking group for many decades and has traveled hundreds of miles by foot locally and afar, including the Grand Canyon several times over. After her husband's death she moved to the retirement community at El Castillo in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2001 and resided there happily for the remainder of her life. She had a full life and always treated others with love and kindness.
Heidi is survived by her son Roy Steffen; by her grandchildren Kila Bakken and Francesca Steffen; by her great grandchildren Allison Raniere, Jacob Raniere, Marlee Raniere and Levi Bakken; by her sister Verena Appenzeller along with extended family in Switzerland; and by her many special friends. She is preceded in death by her husband Rolf Steffen, daughter Claudine Sanders, and grandson Om Sanders.
There will be no service for Heidi but please consider a donation to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on her behalf at bestfriends.org. Her love for animals was so grand and she always wanted to go there and volunteer. Her remains will be spread in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where she spent many hours hiking and mushrooming. She will be greatly missed but her legacy will never end.
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