Stephen Ache

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Our world lost a bright light when Stephen Joseph Ache, 60, of Belleville, IL, born March 16, 1962, in Syracuse, NY, passed away on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

Stephen is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Mary Ellen; his kind and loving children, Anna, Jack, William, and Stephen; his father, Pete; two brothers, Peter and Kim and David and Kim; his mother-in-law, Patricia Sikora; two brothers-in-law, Gene and Lorrie Sikora and Tom and Kathy Sikora; three sisters-in-law, Ann Marie and Hank Calka, Barbara Sikora, and Susan Brisendine; many nieces and nephews, and a great-niece and great-nephew.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Kay Pfister Ache; his father-in-law, Eugene Sikora; and a brother-in-law, Richard Sikora. Stephen was a loving father, husband, son, uncle, coach, and friend to everyone.

Stephen fell hopelessly in love with Mary Ellen when they met in Chicago July 26, 1991.  He was a hopeless romantic and was constantly planning dates and trips for them. They loved traveling the world together and enjoyed many exciting vacations. God’s love was evident in their love for each other, and together they brought four children into this world.

Anyone who knew Stephen, knew him to be the ultimate family man. There was no greater achievement for him than his beautiful family and the birth of his children brought him the most happiness.

He and Anna went on many “days” “not dates Dad!” to get their nails done, go to carnivals, the movies, and shared many meals together. Stephen inspired her to be independent and to take the world by storm. He loved being her protector, teacher and confident.

He and Jack would spend hours on end at construction sites, watching the heavy machines. He scoured stores all over the country to buy vehicles for Jack’s collection and they would spend time together organizing the hundreds of vehicles in the right category. Stephen showed Jack that life was meant to be spent with the people you loved. His joy for Jack’s intelligence and maturity were unmatched.

Stephen was amazed and beyond joyed when William picked up a ball and threw it at him by the time he was two years old. Little did Stephen know, William would never stop. He loved coaching William and all his little friends in t-ball and basketball and although he stopped coaching him on the sidelines, he never stopped coaching him in all areas of his life. Stephen loved watching William play sports and was always amazed by his love for the game and being such a natural and great competitor. He was so proud of his academic and leadership accomplishments and the wonderful brotherhood he developed through sports.

When Stephen was born, he stated that it was like life was starting all over again. He would spend his time holding his last baby and being a supportive father. He loved watching him act, take singing lessons, and work on his moves because he wanted to take little Stephen to the top! As he became more interested in sports, he was his biggest fan cheering him and his TIGERS on! He was so excited to see him develop into an amazing young man.

As the kids grew older, he could not be more proud or joyful over their achievements in academics, athletics, and career. As a father, Stephen always let his children know his unconditional love for them.

Stephen stressed the importance of having deep faith and to always believing in God’s love and forgiveness. He was so amazed by his children’s commitment to faith. He wanted to give his children the world and showered them with his love every single day.

Stephen was known for his love of football and had many accomplishments throughout his lifetime with the sport. One of his fondest memories was winning the 1979 Illinois State Championship with Mascoutah High School, something that he never let anyone forget! From there he played at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) and then went on to play for the NFL, with the Minnesota Vikings. His deep passion for the sport led him to years of coaching and being a mentor for high school and college football.

Beyond his love for football, Stephen was a strong pillar in his community and always gave back to others.  He served on the board and volunteered for years at the Belleville YMCA. While helping do annual events for special needs adults, he formed close relationships with them and shared his love of football, by often taking these friends to high school football and basketball games. During the pandemic, Stephen’s love to give back to others was very evident and he became heavily involved in serving the Women’s Domestic Abuse shelter in Belleville, bringing meals to the women housed there. He was also a member of the BPO Elks 481 and hosted many events to support our veterans.

Stephen was always quick to put a smile on everyone’s face, always having a joke up his sleeve and instantly made everyone in his presence chuckle. His wife and children were the pride and joy of Stephen’s life. The legacy of his loving soul, quick wit, caring spirit, passion for sports, and love of giving back will live on through them and to everyone who had the fortune to meet him.

“A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others” from Wizard of Oz.

Memorials may be made to the Ache Children Education Fund, in care of Stephen P. Ache or William J. Ache, at Catholic and Community Credit Union, 1109 Hartman Lane Shiloh, IL 62221-7916, phone: 618-233-8073, Belleville, IL. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, October 15, 2022, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: A memorial mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 15, 2022, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.

A celebration of life will immediately follow the memorial mass, at Cutters, Belleville, IL.


23 Comments on Stephen Ache

Bruce Lally said : Guest Report Dec 24, 2022 at 4:52 PM

I’m so sorry for your loss. I met Steve in the eighth grade and we became close friends. For the next two years I spent every weekend with him at either his house or mine. I found this after not getting any replies from Steve. I miss you brother.

  • Fairfield
  • CA
Mike Menke said : Guest Report Oct 19, 2022 at 10:34 AM

God Bless Maryellen and family. Miss you big little brother, Cabrini Green lives on forever. Helm Alee!

  • Naperville
  • IL
Tom Leeker said : Guest Report Oct 14, 2022 at 6:01 PM

I was a teammate of Steve’s at Missouri St. He was a tremendous athlete, fierce competitor, bigger than life personality and loyal friend. I am so saddened by this news and so very sorry to his wife Mary Ellen and 4 children. I know that Steve had a heart for God and I find some comfort that he is at peace with Jesus now - and heaven has just received a jolt of high energy and a loving big hearted soul. Rest In Peace my brother!

  • St. Louis
  • MO
Bob Palovcsik said : Guest Report Oct 14, 2022 at 5:50 PM

Steve, you will be missed. I recall you as a team mate at Mascoutah HS and recall you being the hardest hitter I have ever went up against. I also remember the many times we went out and good times we all had. Sending prayers to the Ache family. RIP Steve. You will be missed

  • Belleville
  • IL
Joyce (Cearley) Brown said : Guest Report Oct 14, 2022 at 1:12 PM

Steve was one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever known—he knew no stranger. Our high school years were certainly more entertaining because of him. My prayers are with your entire family—we truly have lost a giant of a man.

  • San Antonio
  • Texas
Lynne Schreiber said : Guest Report Oct 14, 2022 at 10:40 AM

Mary Ellen, Anna, Jack, William and Stephen, We were saddened and shocked to hear about Steve's passing. He will always hold a special place in our hearts. So many laughs and lasting memories from the day Garry introduced me to him. We are keeping you and the kids in our prayers. Rest in peace (Uncle) Steve. The Schreiber's (Lynne, Zack & Nate)

  • New Baden
  • IL
Daniel Mclaurin said : Guest Report Oct 14, 2022 at 9:34 AM

I have always wanted to meet Mr. Ache. I could tell he was a great father through the relationship of him and his son, one of my best friends, Will. Prayers for strength and healing to the family.

  • Chicago
  • IL
Joe Monahan said : Guest Report Oct 14, 2022 at 8:22 AM

I'm going to miss you, my big beautiful brother........

  • Sammamish
  • WA
Steve Schubring said : Guest Report Oct 12, 2022 at 10:46 PM

Steve (Doc Ach), he loved to tell me he had a doctorate in EDU, worked in and around each other for 35 yrs. We were friends throughout being competitors, workmates, managers together and peripheral sellers. Being on the road together before I had a family, it was always great to hear him speak about his wife (ME) and early children. He missed them but knew these days on the road would elevate him up. I will miss his great and timely raps but absolutely won't miss the punch in the shoulder to see if you got his joke. Sweet Dreams Ach! I'll miss you. God Bless

  • Geneva
  • IL
Morgan smith said : Guest Report Oct 05, 2022 at 10:43 AM

I didn’t know him personally but I knew Anna and I wanted to thank him for raising such a sweet and caring person so sorry for your family’s tragedy.

  • Atlanta
  • Ga
Rob Dauber said : Guest Report Oct 02, 2022 at 10:21 AM

My condolences to the Ache family. Steve and I were classmates at Mascoutah High School. I’m very sorry to learn of his passing. His obituary is a beautiful tribute to a man who obviously cherished his family. My sympathy to all of you.

  • New York
  • NY
Mark Loyet said : Guest Report Sep 29, 2022 at 9:29 AM

My family and I offer our sincerest condolences and love to you all during this difficult time. Our prayers for you and your dear Steven will be ongoing. May God's peace, love, and mercy be with you all.

  • Freeburg
  • IL
Aunt Nancy & Uncle Dave said : Guest Report Sep 28, 2022 at 10:07 AM

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all

  • Shillington
  • PA
Jason Grau said : Guest Report Sep 28, 2022 at 9:36 AM

Steve is one of the greatest person I’ve ever met! In so many words he saved my life and I’ll be forever grateful for that! Love my friend and you will be greatly missed!

  • Mascoutah
  • IL
Chuck Tolley said : Guest Report Sep 27, 2022 at 6:00 PM

I didn’t know Steve well, but what I did know, put a smile on my face. Rest In Peace my friend.

  • Nashville
  • TN
william rowe said : Guest Report Sep 27, 2022 at 2:51 PM

We were honored to have Steve as a student-athlete on our football teams at Missouri State and he remained loyal to the Bears for his years following his graduation from MSU. We all grew to love and admire his devotion to the Bears. He always shared of his devotion to his wife and 4 kids. We were also glad to know that he is resting at peace with our Lord as he shared his beliefs with his many friends & teammates at MSU.

  • Springfield
  • MO
Tim Keefe said : Guest Report Sep 27, 2022 at 11:02 AM

I wanted to send my condolences to the family. I have never met Mr. Ache, but work with his wife. (Who is truly a blessing). Prayers from my family to yours.

  • Columbia
  • IL
Mike Carroll said : Guest Report Sep 27, 2022 at 8:21 AM

Steve, my brother, I’ve known you since 1980 from our days at Coffeyville. We were brought together again at Missouri State. You were one heckuva football player and one of the hardest hitters I ever faced. I had the broken facemask to prove it. But you were so much more. My teammate, my roommate, you stood with me at my wedding and were godfather to my daughter. You were a great friend to me, especially when we both were going through difficult times. You were fiercely loyal and always there for me when I needed you. Your passing has been very difficult for me but I’m comforted by knowing that God welcomed you with open arms. Rest In Peace my brother!

  • Lenexa
  • Kansas
Dan Packard said : Guest Report Sep 27, 2022 at 6:41 AM

Fair Winds and Following Seas. Save us a seat up there. You will be missed and remembered fondly.

  • Lena
  • Illinois
Dan Bergren said : Guest Report Sep 26, 2022 at 9:06 PM

I met Steve just after his nfl days. He was a supplier to me then. Steve was so appreciative, enthusiastic and charismatic. We talked often, and laughed about the same things. Steve's love for his wife and family were obvious and took up most of our time. We talked recently about his son moving from QB to LB meeting up at a SF football game this fall. I loved Steve and will miss him very much. God Bless Steve and the entire Ache family.

  • South Elgin
  • Illinois
Jim Baird said : Guest Report Sep 26, 2022 at 7:23 PM

I’ve know Steve since the mid 80’s he was truly a great man. He would do anything for his friends. So many times I saw him go out of his way to thank our military and buy their lunch. He was a dynamic Sales Professional and was a true presence. You will be missed big man. Jim Baird

  • Benbrook
  • TX
John Zerjal said : Guest Report Sep 26, 2022 at 2:25 PM

I was the defensive coordinator for that 1979 State Championship team Steve loved so much!Steve was the rock of our defense but one of the most upbeat players and individuals I have ever known! He truly was a joy to be around and I was so sad to hear of his passing! He can be very proud of the legacy he has left behind in his family. A life truly well lived ! We should all be so lucky to say as much at the end of our days! Rest In Peace Steve!

  • Mascoutah
  • Illinois
Scott Wallace said : Guest Report Sep 26, 2022 at 1:27 PM

Steve was my neighbor in Mascoutah, and tho he beat me out of the linebacker job on the football team im so glad I got to know him and could call him a friend. I was saddned by the news and am praying for God's peace and comfort on all the family.

  • Puyallip
  • WA

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