Stephen Soderman ’63

11 January 2010

Class: 1963

Major: Art History

Residence: Bayfield, WI

Deceased: January 9, 2010

A remembrance by Nancy Fitch Braucher

I met Steve Soderman our sophomore year. We sat next to each other in Biology Lab. Immediately, I was glad to know him, because he was willing to dissect everything (frogs and worms, etc.) while I took the notes. He was vastly amusing, very bright and curious about what we were learning.

In our junior year, I discovered how very talented and artistic he was. He did all the sets for “Kiss Me Kate.” He would come talk to me (I was co-producer), saying that something could not possibly work: we would talk (argue); he would go away and make it happen, whatever the crisis of the moment was.

We were friends for life and I still miss him.

A remembrance by Bob Seddig

Steve Soderman was a much-beloved member of the Class of 1963, often seen at our reunions chatting with others, scampering around, serving as social and reunion activities chair.  He was a high-wired extrovert, creative, zany, fun, and full of energy and wit. 

Steve joined us on First Burton freshman year from Saint Paul, Minn., where, he liked to tell us, he was reared within the repressive strictures of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  His dad was a banker, not given to the offbeat inclinations of his son.

Steve majored in studio art and art history where his creative talents blossomed.  Science was not his forte.  He liked to tell of leaving a chem.-physics final after only one hour (when the rest of us were struggling) because the other classmates must have been awed by his apparent genius.  (He had given up.)

After Carleton, Steve studied interior design at the Parsons School in New York, followed by a career, initially, in interior design with Dayton’s Department Store in Minneapolis and then with his own business.  With Mary Rice ’62, he opened Thrice, a culinary supply store on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul.  Later, he and his wife Karen moved to Bayfield, Wisconsin, where he specialized in photography and other artistic endeavors, selling art and unusual artifacts at Tate’s Art Barn.  He loved Bayfield.

Steve and I remained close friends.  In 1966, in New York City, I was honored to be a groomsman in his wedding.  Later, one of the rewards of being involved with alumni affairs for Carleton was being in frequent touch with him.

Steve loved life, art, conversation, and interior design.  He was known for his extensive, detailed Christmas villages, the last one of which was lodged, not surprisingly, on the ceiling of his study.  That was Steve.  He died of a recurrent esophageal cancer.  We miss him.


A remembrance by Cathy Cade

My early memories of Steve involve his friendliness at meals, especially in Evans Hall. Not everyone was as friendly and up-beat as he, especially men with women. My fondest memories of Steve were when we were alums and he, as an out gay man, was  encouraging me, an out lesbian, to come to Carleton reunions, especially the first LGBT reunion. He hosted me at his house in Minneapolis and then wrote and sent cards for years. He gave me the gift of being able to hold together my Carleton and lesbian experiences. Thank you Steve.



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  • 2012-09-07 16:37:57
    Bud Heckman

    All that has been written about Steve is true and wonderful to read. But I was one of those who knew Steve prior to Carleton. We were grade school and high school classmates. What I still reflect upon was Steve's "evolution" at Carleton from a shy, quiet person to the gregarious, searching and intellectually "stimulating" person he became. I still miss our conversations on a multitude of topics. He was rare gem! 

  • 2013-06-29 07:03:28
    John DesLauriers

    I just learned of Steve's death and I feel the loss. Steve taught me how to do interior painting of walls and ceilings at Thrice on Grand Avenue in St. Paul when I was 13 years old. Thrice had just taken the old Baskin-Robbins space and he was converting it to the cooking school. He used a miniature store I had created for one the Thrice Christmas windows. I looked up to him as a role model. I have worked in the interior design trade now for many years and think of him. I am grateful to have known him.

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