DOWNEY – Jim Stecklein, a Downey resident from 1934 to 1952, will be guest speaker at the Downey Historical Society’s meeting Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the John Downey Room at the Barbara Riley Center.
Stecklein was born in Denver in 1929 and his family moved to South Gate that same year. In 1934, the family moved to Downey.
Stecklein attended Downey Grammary, Junior High and Senior High schools, graduating from Downey High in 1947. While at Downey High, he was senior class president, elected as senator in the California Association of Student Councils, sports editor of the “Norseman” school newspaper, and was on the yearbook staff. He also played varsity football, basketball, track and baseball.
Moving to Whittier in 1952, Stecklein attended Whittier College, playing football and baseball. He was elected “Athelete of the Year” in 1951, and selected as an All Conference Player in both football and baseball. He also made the Associated Press All Pacific Coast football team.
Stecklein played in the College Azteca Bowl against Mexico City in 1950.
Stecklein attended Whittier College graduate school from 1951-53, where he also coached the junior varsity football team. He graduated with a BA in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Recreation and Physical Education. He also earned a teaching credential.
Stecklein graduated from the U.S. Naval Officers Shcool in 1953 and served in the Navy for three years as a recreation and special services officer and legal officer. It was there that Stecklein coached U.S. Naval Station basketball and baseball teams in intercollegiate play.
After the military, Stecklein was in the retail hardware, furniture and appliance business in Downey for 29 years. He also worked as the assistant superintendent of recreation for the city of Whittier for 11 years, and was director of parks and recreation for Manhattan Beach for 23 years. He retired in 1992.
From 2002 to 2015, Stecklein also bred and sold Alpacas, a domesticated species of South American Camelid. (It resembles a small llama in appearance.)
Stecklein’s presentation Oct. 22 is free and open to the public.