Tyler Federal Courthouse Bears New Name - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/09/08- Tyler

Tyler Federal Courthouse Bears New Name

He served for 35 years as a U.S. District Judge and now, the Tyler Federal Courthouse bears his name. The courthouse was dedicated to longtime U.S. District Judge William M. Steger. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane shows us how his legacy is now preserved for all to see.

From his brave young days as a fighter pilot in World War II, to his appointment to the bench by President Nixon. His legacy now lives on in "his" courthouse, the building where Judge Steger proudly served for nearly 45 years.

"He was such an opposing figure on the bench that most people don't know he was a great person, very kind and compassionate," said Matt Flanery, who worked under Judge Steger for nearly 7 years.  "He also had a great sense of humor."

"He would express his profound gratitude, and he'd be absolutely overwhelmed by this honor that you've bestowed upon him today," said Judge Steger's widow, Ann.

Family, friends, and elected officials shared their favorite memories of a man who touched the lives of countless East Texans.

"I know with all my heart that God blessed East Texas," said Congressman Louie Gohmert. "Their names were Judge William M. and Ann Steger."

Ann Steger spoke on behalf of her husband in this, his greatest tribute.

"He had great respect for his beautiful courtroom and also for everything it stands for," said Ann.  "All the dignity and the integrity it represented. To him it also represented justice and duty and honor, country, faithfulness, mercy, and yes even compassion."

Those who knew Judge Steger best said he was also a very humble man, who wouldn't feel deserving of such an honor.

"We mentioned this to him one time many years before he died and he just said 'No,' he didn't think that would be right," said Flanery.  "But I think it's fitting now that he's left us that we have this to remember him by."

And now that his legacy is unveiled, it will be preserved and remembered for generations to come.

You can see some of Judge Steger's memorabilia on permanent display in the Tyler Federal Courthouse.

His widow, Ann, has also donated many of his papers to U.T. Tyler, which are archived in the university's library.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com

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